Chicago law enforcers have embarked on a pilot effort to stem the gang-related violence by applying direct pressure on top gang leaders, reports the city’s Tribune. Earlier this month, police Superintendent Jody Weis and federal prosecutors secretly met with a group of West Side gang leaders, informing them over snacks and beverages that they would be held accountable for violence committed by their gangs. If a crime is traced back to a particular gang, Weis said, police will “come down with every bit of firepower we have, every prosecutive trick we know.”
Investigators tried to make it “a very congenial meeting” with the gang leaders, who were mainly from the Traveling Vice Lords, Weis said. But “they got up and walked out.” Before that happened, he said, federal prosecutors told the gang members that they will use federal racketeering statutes to go after houses and other assets owned by them, other members or their families. This sit-down method of law enforcement was pioneered by David Kennedy, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor. It was first used in 2007 in High Point, N.C., and has been adapted to a number of other U.S. cities.