Cook County pushes for new law aimed at gang leaders

June 6, 2012

Jewell Washington

Public safety officials said a potential new Illinois law would make it easier to put high level gang members behind bars.

The ‘Street Gang Rico’ bill would target gang leaders repeatedly involved in violent crimes and selling drugs.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Wednesday the bill would help prosecutors build bigger cases against gang members in power.

“I think we do a good job of getting the guy who does the drive-by shooting and we treat those cases as isolated incidents,” she said. “What this law will allow us to do is really attack the criminal enterprise and those leaders.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said nearly 80 percent of Chicago shootings are gang-related. He said the bill would reduce homicides.

It still needs Governor Pat Quinn’s signature.