police forces are collaborating together to fight against gang crimes and their
myriad factions. The murders and shootings in the Chicago land area have
been growing and the one way that police have joined forces are by building
a Facebook-like database that tracks the social connections of Chicago's
dozens of street gangs and their connections. The goal was not to draw
gang members together, but to keep them apart.
It's the gang mentality on how they retaliate against each other all
the time, basically an eye for an eye type of tactic. They go back and
forth like a ping pong ball. You shoot me, I shoot you.
For example, there was 16-year-old Jason Briggs, who was shot in the head
during a drive-by attack while he sat on the front porch with his sister.
In the first half of the year, 259 people were
murdered in the city which was a 38% increase over the last year. In comparison,
NYC, a city with more than 3 times the population of Chicago, had 194
homicides in the same period... a 17% drop over the last year.
The South and West sides of Chicago have a clear pattern that 90% of the
violence is related to gangs and shootings. To break the cycle and manner of the
gang violence, many Chicago police officers spent much time over the winter
going over photographs and
arrest records to build a census of the city's estimated 100,000 gang members,
the territory they fight over and their relationships to one another.
This Facebook like mapping for the gang members allows a real gang mapping
philosophy allowing the police to dispatch officers to certain neighborhoods
where a retaliation shooting was expected to occur. This month, the city's
3,000 patrol cars will get direct access to the system. Despite rising
body counts, the mayor has so far stood behind his strategy and rolled
out a number of initiatives to help fight the violence.
Just another strategy, Chicago was scheduled to demolish a dozen vacant
buildings that are known for being gang hangouts. The dismantling of the
city's housing projects such as Cabrini Green and the Robert Taylor
Homes also exported gang member and gang violence. Hopefully, the new
tactics and concentration on the problems associated with gang violence
will help the numbers decrease. The city's police force is doing everything
in their power to make that happen.