CHICAGO (CBS) — West suburban police are complaining about what they call the toothpaste effect – gang members being squeezed out of Chicago and into their communities.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, it was last year when police Supt. Garry McCarthy declared war on two Chicago gangs.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
The Maniac Latin Disciples were targeted in June of last year, when a member of the gang opened fire in Avondale Park, in the 3500 block of West School Street, and wounded two young girls – Jocelyn Rodriguez, 7, and a 2-year-old girl.
The Spanish Cobras found themselves in the crosshairs after Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis was shot and killed in late December, during a robbery at a convenience store at Austin Boulevard and Division Street.
But now, the head of the West Suburban Directed Gang Enforcement task force in the western suburbs tells the Chicago Sun-Times that the communities in his area are now seeing more gang activity, because gangs are having so much difficulty operating in the city and don’t want to operate in rival gang territory in Chicago.
Riverside police Chief Tom Weitzel, head of the 10-suburb task force, tells the Sun-Times’ Frank Main that Chicago Police are “doing a really good job of pushing the crime west.”
Riverside has been grappling with juvenile gang members burglarizing homes, and there has been a spike in gang graffiti in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, the Sun-Times reported.
Last year, the task force logged 105 felony arrests – more than double the number two years earlier – in the communities of Berwyn, Brookfield, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, North Riverside, Oak Park, River Forrest, Riverside and Stickney, the Sun-Times reported.