Gangs Turn Chicago Streets Into a Battlefield

by Pierre Thomas and Sadie Bass (ABC News)
October 8, 2009

chicagogang

Lured by Money, Power and Drugs, Gang Members Are Part of a Full-Fledged Criminal Enterprise

At 5 a.m at a secret location in Chicago, heavily armed U.S. Marshals and local police locked in on a target.

“He is a gang member,” said U.S. Marshal Ed Farrell. “Pretty much everything they do is through fear and violence. That’s how they control neighborhoods, that’s how they control their criminal activity.”

It was a busy morning. Five arrests in two hours. All those arrested were wanted for drug dealing, and all were gang members.

“We have the biggest gang problem in the country. There are more gang members per citizen in Chicago than anywhere else in the country,” Farrell said.

The FBI works closely with Chicago authorities to try and dismantle gang leadership. The gangs have morphed from social organizations into full-fledged criminal enterprises.

In an undercover surveillance video, a female gang member was seen selling drugs in broad daylight — and her 4-year-old daughter was also on the video clutching the drugs. The mother was a member of the New Breed gang that controlled a one-block area that included eight buildings.

“The gang did $80,000 worth of sales per day,” said Thomas Trautman, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI Chicago Division. “There were nine homicides and nine shootings in that one block in 18 months.”

Only after authorities took out the gang leadership and arrested 56 gang members from the housing complex was there any normalcy.

But it’s a battle for police just to keep pace. At the largest jail in the country, the Cook County Jail, that reality is all too clear.

“We’ve got approximately 9,000 to 9,500 male inmates. And a good 90 percent of them, probably closer to 95 percent of them, are gang members,” said Tom Kinsella, executive director of the Cook County Office of Intelligence.

“They are members of organized crime for strictly one thing — money. And their drug dealing is where they get 95 percent of their money. It starts with 16-year-old kids dealing on the street, up to 50-year-olds,” Kinsella added.

The jail’s gang intelligence unit provides police on the street valuable information about the gangs — details about hierarchy, symbols and weaponry.

Police Struggle to Stop Gang Activity

But authorities are the first to admit that you can’t arrest your way out of this problem.

“It’s not clear we can break up the gangs. The best we may be able to do is to get them to decrease their violence,” said Jens Ludwig, a professor at the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

“The police can’t stop the problem alone,” said Kinsella. “It is a family problem and a problem with society and it’s gotten beyond what police can control.”

A conversation with a 25-year-old member of the 4 Corner Hustlers — who joined at age 12 — makes the point in a chilling fashion.

Pierre Thomas: “Why did you join?”

Gang Member: “For the money. They had the girls. I liked the lifestyle.”

Thomas: “Did you sell drugs?”

Gang Member: “Yes I did. … My parents were caught up, too.”

Thomas: “Have you been shot at?”

Gang Member: “Yes.”

Thomas: “Have you shot at people?”

Gang Member: “Yes. … At the time, it was kill or be killed.”

Thomas: “Do you expect to live to be an old man?”

Gang Member: “Nah. I know one day it’s going to be my turn.”

Thomas: “Do kids in your neighborhood have a choice?”

Gang Member: “You will join. You will join.”

Posted by on Oct 8 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

19 Comments for “Gangs Turn Chicago Streets Into a Battlefield”

  1. mario

    I dont belive that they were making 80,000 dollars a day. its just a bunch of b.s.

  2. jose

    Yeah i agree with “Mario” because their community does not have that type of money.. if soo what did they do with the money.
    Also did the cops pocket the money that they found and what they do with the drugs?

  3. SUPER CUZ

    Chicago pd must of never heard of Los Angeles, Ca…? Home of the gangbangers! Not to be proud of it but L.A. started this gangbangin shit fool! Chicago gangs is like the minor leagues compared to Los Skanless!!! Westside!!!

  4. 8700 krazi

    L.A? Super cuz u sound dumb as hell for da simple fact dat i moved to L.A for a couple years when i was 20 nd im gon tell u yall niggas aint got shit on CHI-CITY “FOOL” lol goofy ass boy

    • Lil Snook

      Chi-town has got some ryders…but this fool is high. la got gangs that would sew this whole city up in two weeks.

  5. Original G'z

    Hey SuperCuz, I’m going to start this by stating you are probably a young ass nigga. Any real OG from the Left Coast or Chicago will tell you gangbanging started in Chicago fool! Ask T Rodgers who co-founded the bloods in LA, he’s from Chicago. Ask the Bloodstone Villians in South Central, Bloodstones was originated in Chicago and Gary, Indiana back in the 50’s my nigga. They didn’t start in LA until the 70’s or 80’s my nigga. All that gangbanging shit you talkin started here. Chicago is THE MURDER CAP, whether you like it or not. Chicago had about 1,000 murders last year. LA City had around 250 and another 100 in Compton. Put it like this young nigga, the ESES don’t disrespect out here. They know whatz good and understand GDN and BDN is deep. We are all over the midwest and it ain’t nuttin to get 10,000 niggaz together and start some shit. GD’s and VL’s are in the government out here. You LA’s niggaz need to get on game. These Mexicans respect and fear us in Chicago. You won’t see no NIGGER KILLER out here or we’d have their motherfuckin heads and they know it. No DISRESPECT to the real Cali G’s both blood and cuz and even the eses. We know ya’ll some real niggaz but understand and recognize these real ass G’z out here in the Midwest. Lets unite and become a problem for these white folks BUT you must understand and respect your history young niggaz so we can grow. PEACE!!

    • Charro

      White folks aint the problem “my nigga” look in the mirror at your turnt out skanky ass, and u will see the real problem. Stop using other groups of people because u too damn lazy to get off the couch “my nigga”

    • chimex

      first off mexicans dnt fear none of yall negros we cool wit all to survive cuz blacks the deepest in chi no lie but we dnt fear shit yall be bout yall money killing eachother GDz killin GDz VLz killin VLz yall dnt respect yall selves or yall nations theres sooo many blacks that been ALK and other gangs like La Raza Folkz Ambroes SD ect theres even sum hood on 87th were its nearly all black kingz!!dey kno what we be on we too structured.. u kno any black dat will walk through 26st and be all good by county?NOPE wat bout humbolut park and dem latinos?NOPE wat bout 18st?NOPE wat bout back of the yards wit dem CRAZY ass saints?NOPE yall got highest murders cuz yall aint got respect for shit and have no organization LATINOS THE REAL GANGBANGERS with the tatts on they face it aint shit.. blacks barley started gettin tatts after gucci and wayne mexicans been on it LATINO FOLKS like MLD & SD gett too much love from black GDz in county cuz they kno LATINOS are killas and the ALKQN get resepect from everyone no lie and i aint a king BPS show them mad love too got a shake and everything WE BRING THE DRUGS YALL LIVE OFF OF TO THIS COUNTRY BY THE BILLIONS & WE GOT LATINOS IN COUNTY NOT FOR PETTY SHIT WE GOT STRAIGHT KILLAS AND DRUG TRAFFICERS …..WE BEEN EARNED OUR RESPECT IN THE CHI MUTHAFUKA

      • @Chimex what you mean, “mexicans ain’t scared of none of y’all negros.” Check this out you product of spanish rape!!! Don’t you ever get cocky with gangbangin. It controls nothing. It stands on no foundation. It is a cowardly existance. This is GODS world and dues will have to be payed. You talking about who got pagan markings on their flesh first? That’s a way. For the system to mark you. Brag about being a pagan. Gangbanging with snot rags and claimming a territory stolen from the natives owned by the oppressive racist system of America. California gangbangin just like the rest of the nation is pushing a white supremist agenda. This is to all the people on this page. You live in an illusion. Until you lift the vail from your hearts you will continue to have chains around your brains. KILL KILL KILL MURDER MURDER MURDER!!! Lol fuckin slaves!!!

        • Allah Verga

          and your the product of EXTREME cowardice with absolutely no sense of your own culture! Only reason your women weren’t raped, is there too damn ugly!!!

        • We as black us citizens are not fearful of you latinos(product of spain rapings) either….just to let you know.. =)

        • look here meat ball ass niggaz,we latin and black,are tha minority,and yes it is we who suport 50%of the economy thru drug trade,every nigga latin or black,need to realize where tha real war is and who is really fighting.its vcalled blood money be cause of the blood shed befor the drugs even make to this country,so mwhen you come across that real plug thats pluged wit cartel,dont fuck around and get chopped in forreal peices nigga cause thats real gangstas ,los mexicanos en la frontera,son real niggas who alow your kids to eat in a hundred more ways than you might think,so for tha spanish rape bullshit ill let that slide off and count it as a scared black nigga running his mouth l;ike he tuff,bitch la raza aint no joke, check tha sta6tys niggaz. holla

  6. poops

    My niggas from chi don’t worry bout what that lame talkin about. but gangs didn’t strt in CHi, chi just got the oldest modern black hoods in the country, and LA got the oldest modern latino hoods in the country. Bloods and crips was not the first black gangs in LA by a long shot, they just the longest lived. And T. Rodgers didn’t start the bloods, peeps always say this, he was the leader of BPS jungles who was one of the original gangs in the blood alliance.

  7. […] The gangs have turned many of Chicago's streets into a battlefield. "Police Struggle to Stop Gang Activity But authorities are the first to admit that you can’t arrest your way out of this problem. “It’s not clear we can break up the gangs. The best we may be able to do is to get them to decrease their violence,” said Jens Ludwig, a professor at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. “The police can’t stop the problem alone,” said Kinsella. “It is a family problem and a problem with society and it’s gotten beyond what police can control.” A conversation with a 25-year-old member of the 4 Corner Hustlers — who joined at age 12 — makes the point in a chilling fashion. Pierre Thomas: “Why did you join?” Gang Member: “For the money. They had the girls. I liked the lifestyle.” Thomas: “Did you sell drugs?” Gang Member: “Yes I did. … My parents were caught up, too.” Thomas: “Have you been shot at?” Gang Member: “Yes.” Thomas: “Have you shot at people?” Gang Member: “Yes. … At the time, it was kill or be killed.” Thomas: “Do you expect to live to be an old man?” Gang Member: “Nah. I know one day it’s going to be my turn.” Thomas: “Do kids in your neighborhood have a choice?” Gang Member: “You will join. You will join.” Gangs Turn Chicago Streets Into a Battlefield | Street Gangs Resource Center – Los Angeles and… […]

  8. If you claim a hood of america, a city of america, a county of america, a state of america, a reigion of america. You claim something. That doesn’t claim you. Keep poppin your fireworks for american independence. Stay High. Stay drunk stay sleep!!! Fuck gangbangin!!!! There has never been any HONOR in a snot rag!!!!!!

    • Charro

      There hasn’t been much honor in your people walking around in dirty nightshirts and wiping your butts with your hands, but hey, who’s throwing stones in glasses houses here, sand ni66a?

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