CHICAGO (WBBM) — Police Supt. Jody Weis says 60 gang members were arrested in two months – after the police department carried out its threat to go after an entire gang the next time a murder was committed by one gang member.
Weis talked about the pilot program on the West Side which he clearly sees as a promising approach to stopping gangs: telling gang leaders that when a murder is committed, the full force of the police will be brought down on the entire gang.
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And that’s just what happened: In two months, 60 were arrested.
The architect of the anti-gang strategy, David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says most gang violence is not about money or drugs.
“Most of it is respect and disrespect and boy-girl and back-and-forth. … It’s not even in the interest of the gang. It draws heat. It makes it hard to do business.”
Kennedy says when the gang understands that police will go after the entire gang after one member commits murder, the gang will police itself.
The approach to gangs starts with a “call-in” of top gang members: Those gang leaders are called in and community members tell them how important it is that the violence stop.
Then police lay down the law – and tell the gangs that when one member commits murder, the full force of the law will be brought down on the whole gang.
“In two months time we put 60 people in jail and arrested them and took them off the street, which is phenomenal because that was the hammer aspect that we were telling these gang members [about]. If you shoot someone, if you kill someone, this is going to happen,” Weis said.
Weis says there was no negotiating with the gang members, as critics have charged.
He says about half those arrested are back on the street – out on bond.
Weis predicts will take two or three “call-ins” to have a real impact on a gang.