Feds agree to help Chicago Police with new anti-violence strategy
BY FRANK MAIN AND FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporters August 16, 2012 5:54PM
States Attorney Anita Alvarez and Chcago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy outlined a new “initiative to crack down on gang violence” at a press conference on June 6, 2012 | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: September 18, 2012 6:22AM
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy met with the feds this week to get their help in carrying out his new “hot people” tactic to drive down murders, sources said Thursday.
A top mayoral aide said McCarthy didn’t ask for more federal resources, but was simply trying to find out how to share the information his department gathers on potential shooters.
The aide denied rumors the meeting was scheduled because Mayor Rahm Emanuel was upset that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently traveled to Philadelphia to announce 50 federal agents were being assigned there to combat gang crime.
On Wednesday, McCarthy met with a U.S. Justice Department official from Washington and local leaders of the DEA, FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies. He explained his strategy of studying criminals’ social networks to identify likely shooters. The tactic focuses on those “hot people” instead of on crime “hot spots.”
Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Chicago, agreed to have agents on a newly created strike force work with the police to investigate “hot people” and build criminal cases to take them off the street, sources said.
“It was a productive meeting,” one source said.
McCarthy’s hot-people tactic stems from work by Andrew Papachristos, who teaches sociology at Yale University. He looked at murders between 2005 and 2010 on the West Side.
Seventy percent of the killings were in a social network of 1,600 people — out of a total population of 80,000. Each person in the network was arrested at some point with another person in the network. For those in the network, the risk of being killed was 30 out of 1,000. But the risk for the others was less than 1 in 1,000.
McCarthy wants to use a similar networking analysis to pinpoint those most likely to become shooters. A source said the department might come up with names of targets in the next few weeks.
The DEA Strike Force in Chicago was launched earlier this year and includes officers from the Chicago Police, DEA, FBI, ATF and other agencies. They’re already working side-by-side conducting drug investigations in violent neighborhoods.
In a 2011 interview, Riley said the strike force would focus on the “chokepoint” where street gangs come into contact with Mexican drug-trafficking organizations. Authorities believe many of the “hot people” will be the same people the task force hopes to target with the chokepoint strategy.