Chicago Parents: Hug Your Children Every Day

January 28, 2012

Here’s a Chicago real estate statistic that is quite unappealing: Chicago has more gang members than any other city in the country.

The information comes from a new book released this week from the Chicago Crime Commission, called The Gang Book, which determined that the city has between 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago metropolitan area with anywhere from 70,000 to 125,000 members.

And the numbers are continuing to grow. Jody Weis, Chicago’s former Police Superintendent commissioner and the Chicago Crime Commission’s president, said gang members are younger and recruiting more aggressively, even in elementary schools.

They are also more sophisticated, using technology and social media as a way to recruit and intimidate.

Last week, a big news story was that the city of Chicago went a full 24 hours without a murder or a shooting for the first time in nearly a year.

The Chicago Crime Commission’s 320-page gang book was created as a tool to help police fight crime and try to keep our neighborhoods safe and to educate the public about gang activity.

The book highlights 73 of the most prominent street gangs in Chicago with an estimated 68,000 gang members, identifying them by profiles, signs, colors, even territorial maps.

“Many residents of the city live and work within feet of a gang’s operations,” said Weis. “Gangs constitute an entire sector of Chicago’s population, yet even the law enforcement organizations that watch them daily cannot precisely gauge the extent of their presence.

“This guide and training tool was developed to be of use to the most expert gang investigators, as well as to the parent, educator or business owner who may know little about Chicago metropolitan street gangs.”

Kids reach out to gangs because they are feeling lost. It’s the parents job to be involved in their children’s lives and provide structure, discipline and love. And, no matter how uncool they might think it is, to be their social media friends.

For more information on The Gang Book, visit chicagocrimecommission.org.

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