Chicago's war on gang violence has so many strategies that it's nearly impossible to keep track. In addition to passing more stringent organized crime laws, the state has also promised to shut down businesses that are magnets for gang violence, raze abandoned buildings where criminals loiter, hire CeaseFire to help mediate disputes in the hood, and well, there's got to be more, but we've lost track. It is a war, after all.
Earlier this week, the city released its list of businesses that would either be given intense scrutiny or outright closed for their prior missteps. Though the press release did not spell out all of the targeted businesses, it did point out a few that had already been dealt with.
AM Dollar was cited by the city as one of the first to be shuttered. It has previously had issues with tobacco sales, deceptive practices, sanitation, and graffiti removal. There have also been extensive calls to the location involving gang disturbances, including shots fired and drug sales.
The city also began to take down abandoned buildings that were serving as a haven for drug use, drug sales, prostitution, and other crime, reports NBC 5 Chicago. The first twelve were tackled on Thursday. The city plans to raze or seal up 200 vacant properties.
Finally, the planned alliance with CeaseFire already seems to be paying dividends, even before the alliance officially started today. The group, staffed by former gang members, serves as a combination of outreach and mediation.
CeaseFire convinced a teen suspected of shooting two young girls in a drive-by to turn himself in on Thursday, reports ABC 7 Chicago. Though the teen protests his innocence, he surrendered to protect himself from street justice.
Leveled buildings, harsh laws, alliances with civilian militias, and the chaining of problem businesses? It certainly sounds like a war. Let's wait for the results, however, before celebrating any progress.
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