CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today new coordinated crime-fighting strategies aimed at integrating efforts to combat not only gang-related violence but also criminal activity associated with "problem" businesses in Chicago’s neighborhoods. The City’s new Gang Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) will serve to actively promote inter-bureau efforts to combat gang violence and is based on a nationally-proven approach of preventing this kind of serious violence. Concurrently, the City has revamped its enforcement processes for establishments with business licenses to more effectively target liquor and convenience stores that serve as conduits for criminal activity. These two parallel strategies will increase coordination across City departments and community resources in order to more effectively prevent crime and ensure safety in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
“Reducing gang-related violence is key to driving down overall crime in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This new integrated approach is designed to address our City's unique gang problem and uses every asset at our disposal to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
The GVRS includes Gang Audits, Focused Deterrence, Group Accountability, and Moral Community Message/Social Service Providers, utilizing the Chicago Police Department’s Deployment Operations Center (DOC) and Crime Prevention and Information Center (C.P.I.C) to maximize efforts.
“This is the first comprehensive strategy to defeat the violence associated with gangs, streamlining intelligence, communication and resources across bureaus and within the community,” said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “This strategy is multi-faceted and does not rely solely on arrests for combating the unique gang issue in Chicago.”
To target liquor and convenience stores that serve as conduits for criminal activity, the City has begun pulling data from multiple enforcement departments, including Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), Chicago Police Department (CPD), Streets & Sanitation (DSS), Public Health (CDPH) 311 and Buildings, to look for and identify trends in complaints about liquor and convenience stores - moving from a reactive approach after a major incident, to a proactive approach.
Since this process was implemented in April, four liquor establishments have had their licenses revoked and their doors closed. Another fifteen businesses have been referred for disciplinary action and could be subject to revocation.
“Businesses serve as anchors in their communities, but some serve as conduits for criminal activity, and those are the businesses that we are targeting,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Whether you are a problem business, a violent street corner, or a known drug market, we will go after you.”
BACP has also identified 30 businesses that are now flagged on the problem business watch list. The establishments have received letters informing them of the designation and will be subject to increased inspections from all City departments. Further violations by a flagged business will be cause for immediate disciplinary action, and could lead to license revocation.
Chicago has also recently enacted a number of public safety initiatives aimed at reducing crime, including the City’s new Strong Blocks/SAFE Communities Wrap-Around Strategy, an initiative that combines targeted police enforcement with City services and community engagement; putting more officers back into districts and on the streets to keep communities safe; introducing CompStat, a data-driven approach to fighting crime; proposing state-wide gun registration and titling; and collaborating with federal law enforcement agencies to bring in additional resources to our communities.