Several members of a notorious local crime gang are unlikely to forget last week’s storm. They were arrested at a hidden “chop shop” by police officers of the anti-crime unit scant hours after the first big storm passed through the City. The officers recovered several stolen cars (or their parts) and seized another. All the men had criminal records; several had pending warrants; at least one was on parole.
The officers were in the neighborhood as part of an intense and on-going effort by the Police Department and the Circuit Attorney’s office to target the worst criminals operating in the most dangerous neighborhoods.
This is an expensive operation - and it strains the current resources of both the police and the prosecutors. But, it works.
Maintaining the effort is the reason I will ask City voters in August to approve increases in the graduated fees charged for Business Licenses. The increases in the fees will pay for more police and prosecutors: a bigger violent offenders program, more police officers on the streets and in specialized units, a new unit in the Circuit Attorney’s office, more cooperative programs with the feds, a strong program to combat truancy, and a greater effort to identify and prosecute the owners of problem properties.
And voters who wonder about the effect that anti-crime programs in bad neighborhoods have on their own lives should consider this: all the cars in the illegal chop shop came from other neighborhoods.