National Drug Intelligence
Drug-related violent crime committed by street gangs is a primary public safety concern for law enforcement officials in the Chicago HIDTA region. Drug-related violence in the area often results from disputes between street gang members vying for control of drug distribution territories or drug and money "rip-offs" of dealers or buyers. When violence does occur, retaliation typically follows, leading to increased hostilities and often homicides. Of the 443 murders investigated by the Chicago Police Department in 2007, 43.8 percent were identified as gang-related and 74 percent involved firearms. The overall threat of gang violence is elevated by the availability of firearms supplied to Chicago street gang members from associates in states with less stringent gun control laws. Although a large percentage of drug-related gang violence occurs in urban areas, suburban communities are experiencing an increase in such violence. For example, the Joliet Police Department reports that gang-related shootings have more than tripled over the past 5 years in their jurisdiction, from 49 in 2003 to 162 in 2007.
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