Gang labeling in dispute when analyzing Chicago violence
The city of Chicago is making a concerted effort to fight gang activity and one important part is to track it. That involves pegging some crimes as “gang related,” a label that the police department applies to most murders in the city. Some residents inside Chicago neighborhoods, and even some crime experts, say police are too loose with the term.
They worry police can’t fight crime well until they understand why it happens.Malcolm Rashad met his best friend Cornelius Jordan on the block they grew up on in West Englewood.
They rode their bikes together as little boys and ran races up and down Wood Street.
Last year someone gunned down 26-year-old Jordan on the very same block.
Rashad says his friend got caught in crossfire meant for someone else. The grief cut deeper when friends and family heard the supposed circumstances of Jordan’s death.
The Chicago Tribune reported: “Police suspect that the shooting was gang-related, but didn’t elaborate.”
RASHAD: When he died and I heard them say it was gang related, I said he wasn’t even affiliated with any gang. He was a family man. He always kept his kids around and he was just a happy person. He always worked hard.
Rashad says the burden of living in high-crime Englewood allows terms like gang related to inhabit the streets. It’s easy to categorize and it’s a shortcut to finding out what the real problems are.
FILM: The Interrupters