The McHenry County, Illinois State's Attorney has filed a civil lawsuit against five alleged gang members that would forbid them from associating with each other, in an effort to curb gang-related crime in the area.
In a lawsuit filed on Valentine's Day, McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi and the city of Harvard invoked the 1993 Illinois Street Gang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act, allowing him to forbid individuals with a history of gang-related convictions from associating with one another, according to the Daily Herald. The suit targets five Harvard residents with a history of offenses and affiliations with the Latin Kings: Antonio M. Figueroa, 29; Alfredo Garcia-Castillo, 21; Justin Pena, 27; Genaro Pena, 29; and Spencer M.L. Ortiz, 21.
It's a move that's not unprecedented; Kane County and northwest suburban Elgin used the Prevention Act to litigate away gang violence in late 2010 and early 2011, and Elgin reported a significant decrease in crime after the lawsuit's terms took effect, according to CBS Chicago.
Bianchi told the Chicago Tribune that Harvard "is kind of the epicenter of gang violence," in the county adding, "We don't want to wait until someone gets seriously injured. It's time to target the people in an effort to target the gang."
The lawsuit is also directed at "other unnamed [gang] members," according to the Tribune. The defendants are due to appear in court June 15.
Bianchi and the town of Harvard are also seeking monetary damages, and would additionally prohibit defendants from possessing or discharging firearms, using, possessing or selling drugs, defacing public or private property with graffiti and participating in assaults or batteries, WREX McHenry County reports.
The move accompanies a recent trend of gang activity spreading from within Chicago's city limits to surrounding suburbs as police in the city have declared a war on gangs.