Police Expand Outreach to Schools to Curb Violence
Chicago Sun-Times via YellowBrix
October 18, 2010
CHICAGO – Chicago Police are expanding a high school outreach program to prevent gang violence after the initial program appears to be making inroads, Police Supt. Jody Weis said at a news conference Sunday.
The program, which started March 8 in high schools in the Police Department’s Area 1 — roughly from 2200 to 8700 south and from Harlem Avenue east to Lake Michigan — has resulted in students seeking to get tattoos removed and to leave their gangs, police said. Students are transferred to new schools when necessary.
Weis said the high schools in Area 1 had no students murdered in gang violence from March through June, compared with five murders in that same time period of 2009.
Cmdr. Leo Schmitz said the effort has nothing to do with pressuring the students to “rat on” gang members or tell police “who is dealing dope.”
Instead, police officers assigned to the Gang School Safety Team intervene after a killing or other gang violence to talk with the victim’s friends.
“We’ll talk about the kids’ exposure to violence and try to stop any retaliation,” said Sgt. Kenneth Boudreau. “We ask, ‘What is gang life doing to you? Can you recall other friends who were shot? Do the gang members regularly visit and help the family of the victim? The students will say, ’No, no one cares about the family.’”
The program started this school year in high schools in the Police Department’s Area 2, roughly from 55th to 138th streets, and from Cicero east to State Line Road.