Following a bloody holiday weekend where gun violence claimed the lives of 11, including a 13-year-old boy, and wounded more than 40 others, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday discussed out his plan to address Chicago's gang problems.
Emanuel was joined by Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in stating that the city will work to coordinate gang reduction with community policing strategies, ABC Chicago reports. The approach will include gang audits which cross-reference intelligence and better predict gang action by looking for patterns between individual behavior, turf overlaps and ongoing feuds. Gangs, according to the mayor, were responsible for the bulk of the weekend's shootings.
Further, the strategy will target liquor and convenience stores the mayor believes are instrumental to attracting gangs and spurring on criminal activity.
Fox Chicago reports that, under the strategy, four establishments have already been shut down, while 15 others are subject to revocation. Another 30 businesses are on a watch list.
"The full force of the police department and the criminal justice system is coming down on gangs of the city of Chicago. These streets belong to our children and our families, not the gang bangers," the mayor said Tuesday, ABC reports. "And for the first time, the police department is going to be organized to combat the gun violence driven by the gangs."
"Whether you are a problem business, a violent street corner, or a known drug market, we will go after you," the mayor continued, according to Fox.
While the mayor touted the strategy as new, most of its specific provisions have already been implemented or previously announced -- though not necessarily as one comprehensive package.
Across a span of four days, more than 40 shootings and 10 homicides were reported in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend -- a big jump when compared to the four homicides reported during the same holiday weekend last year. Among those injured by gunfire was a 7-year-old girl, who was listed in good condition Saturday evening.
The weekend was the city's bloodiest since mid-March.
Early Tuesday, Ivan Alanis, a 13-year-old boy, became yet another Chicago victim of gun violence. Alanis was fatally shot around 2:20 a.m. while eating pizza at Laurie’s Pizzeria and Liquors, 5153 N. Broadway, with his sister, CBS Chicago reports. He was pronounced dead at 3:16 a.m. at Advocate Illinois Medical Center.
Despite the violent weekend, however, McCarthy insisted that the Chicago Police Department's efforts to address gang violence are proving effective, and have actually led to a 7 percent reduction in the number of shootings since March, the Chicago Tribune reports. Gun seizures, too, are up 20 percent since the program has been implemented, according to CBS, while overall crime is down.
Still, homicides in the city so far this year are up nearly 50 percent when compared to last year.
"It's not OK that we had 53 shootings last week, but that 53 shootings is the same exact number of shootings that we had last year. So this is not a new problem," McCarthy said, according to the Tribune. "What it is, is a new solution that we're applying to it. And it's not going to happen overnight. It's a process that we have to move forward with."
Meanwhile, the Illinois Senate on Friday advanced an anti-gang law proposed by Emanuel, the Tribune reports. The bill would create a federal-style state racketeering statute that would make it easier to prosecute the kingpins who help organize gang activity. The bill will next be considered by the state House and Gov. Pat Quinn.
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