After 2,500 Arrests, Has Chicago Attack on Murderous Gang Succeeded?


The Chicago police war on the Maniac Latin Disciples began in June 2011 after a member of the gang allegedly wounded two young girls playing in a park while he was gunning for rival Latin Kings. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, disgusted by the shootings, vowed to “eradicate” the entire gang, says the Chicago Sun-Times. In February, a leaders of the gang told the Sun-Times the police pressure was taking a financial toll on the gang, that its members were having a harder time selling drugs.

Now, more than a year after the girls were shot, a Sun-Times analysis finds that crime in the gang’s territories dropped sharply after the initiative was launched in June but, by May, violent crime in the gang's turf had edged back to 2011 levels. Deputy Police Chief John Escalante thinks the anti-MLD initiative has worked in “just about every area we've targeted.” Escalante said the shootings have been the work of other gangs that share the same turf. Police have made more than 2,500 arrests of MLD members since the war was declared by McCarthy. Escalante acknowledged that the war on the MLDs is “manpower-intensive” and can't be deployed against every gang in the city. “It would be too hard to apply it to every gang,” he said. “It has to be a case-by-case review.”

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