As his sister lay in a suburban Chicago hospital bed with a bullet in her leg, Ralph Linder was bent on revenge, but two members of CeaseFire, an anti-street violence initiative, wouldn’t let him out of their sight, says the Chicago Tribune. After a day, Linder had cooled down. CeaseFire monitors crime in the news and spends time on the streets trying to broker peace and to help curb shootings in the area. With gang activity and street violence becoming standard in some suburbs, CeaseFire has opened a branch in Lake County, the non-profit’s fifth incursion since starting in Chicago in 1995.
CeaseFire officials say the program is needed in at least three other Lake County towns where gang activity and street shootings are occurring more frequently. Law-enforcement officials have estimated there are at least 3,000 gang members in Lake County, most of them concentrated in the small urban areas. With gang affiliations often nebulous, CeaseFire officials say their aim goes beyond what they call “street organizations” to most any shootings, whether they result from a dirty look or interference with drug trade. “People look at suburbs as nice and plush, but there are a lot of people coming to the suburbs and the gang activity is coming with them,” said Diallo Brown of CeaseFire. “Now there’s complications–drugs and money and territory issues and a growing lack of respect for human life. It’s mimicking what’s happening in the city.”