Fighting Violent Crime in Chicago
Chicago’s extreme gun violence has been described as an epidemic– where gang-related shootings are often spontaneous and unpredictable. The FBI’s Chicago Division, working with the Chicago Police Department and other agencies, has undertaken significant measures to address the problem.
Police officer on radio: …9-25, an emergency, we’re at... we have a female on the ground, over here.
Radio dispatcher: We just got a couple of… they are responding, ma’am. We got a person shot, call at 5101… got a couple of calls on that.
Police officer on radio: I got two people down. I got a black female and I got a black male inside of the vehicle, shot in the head. Looks like a DOA here, on both of them. Get me an ambulance… get me a sergeant over here, I need crime scene tape.
Radio dispatcher: Alright ma’am, we got it. Person down on the ground, drive-by from a white Charger, is what we have. Vehicle had an Indiana plate…
FBI Chicago Division Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson: We are interested in street-level crime. We’re putting a lot of resources to it, to support and supplement the efforts of our partners. We’re interested in identifying trigger-pullers and shot callers. The ultimate goal right now is targeting the most violent of the violent.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson: The FBI and our police officers—detectives—work together, working on these cases from start to finish. And that has helped quite a bit. We combine the resources that we have with the ones that they have to try to fight this crime. You know, they have brought a lot of analysts in to look at our crime picture so that they can help us figure out where to best deploy our resources.
Anderson: Chicago Police Department breaks up the city really in three areas: central, north, and south. And so what we have done is we have gang squads that mirror those areas. And on those squads we have FBI personnel, we have Chicago Police Department task force officers, and we may have other federal and local partners. So those relationships can be developed. So our gang squad that covers the south can mirror and marry up with the area command structure and all the boots on the ground for CPD covering those same districts, so that area. Those relationships are key because it’s a very violent environment. You’ve got to have those relationships and that these folks can trust each other and they can work closely.
Johnson: It’s a relatively new thing and what it does is it cuts down the time that we have to wait. We get real-time intelligence from the FBI that we didn’t get before, and that’s very helpful in the crime fight in Chicago.
FBI special agent, Joint Gang Task Force: Every agency brings something different to the table. It’s almost like bringing together the Superfriends, right? Everybody has a different thing that they do to enhance the overall success of the team.
FBI Special Agent Robert Fortt: Well as the screen says, my name is Special Agent Robert Fortt and I’m with the Chicago FBI office. We’re going to talk about basically three things. We’re going to talk about choices. We’re going to talk about making smart choices, and what happens when choices go wrong. We’re going to talk about gangs, because we’re going to talk about the elephant in the room, right? We’ll talk about the violence…
Plato Learning Center Principal Charles Williams: Something brand new that we’re starting off… I’m hoping that with these presentations that they understand that when you’re outside of the school there are choices and there are consequences for those choices that you’re making. Hopefully, with somebody coming in from law enforcement—somebody who deals with this—you know, it kind of reinforces that message to say, “I’ve dealt with this. We’ve seen students or people go down that path who have made those wrong choices.” And hopefully, it will reinforce that message to say, “make those wise choices, so that way you don't have to deal with those unfortunate consequences.”
Anderson: I do like where we’re headed. I do like the relationships we’ve developed in the community. We’re doing a lot of community outreach and increasing our resources on the community outreach side. These communities have tremendous citizens there that are under siege with violence, and they’re desperately looking for help. Their communities are being hijacked by a relatively small percentage of the people in those communities, wreaking that type of violence.
Johnson: There’s a lot of good people that live in these areas that assist law enforcement and they just don’t deserve to have to live in an environment like this.
Anderson: So that is something that we’re really focusing on is building community trust, because folks need to feel like they can trust law enforcement. If they trust law enforcement then they are more likely to report crimes. Because these type of cases—these homicide and shooting cases—they’re driven by eyewitness accounts…
Community activist Andrew Holmes: (outdoors) So I’m just working closely with the FBI in putting more resources and numbers here and letting the community know that they have more resources…
Holmes: You have to work with all law enforcement—FBI, state, local—you have to work with them. It’s just a family. You have to connect them dots. You can’t separate them, no matter what race, creed, or color—you have to work together.
Anderson: If the community can see that our efforts are targeted and that they're not overly broad, and that we are trying to excise the most violent elements out of those neighborhoods, that level of cooperation will increase.
Johnson: What they want is the police to be fair, respectful, and get the bad guys out of their communities. That’s what they want.
Holmes: (outdoors) …yes sir. With your help we can do this!
Johnson: Since we put these task forces in place we’ve seen significant drops in the gun violence in these two districts—the 11th District on the west side and the 7th District Englewood on the south side.
We are making some real positive gains, you know. By no means are we declaring success, but we have seen some really encouraging results.
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