Chicago police conducting raids across city in effort to curb holiday violence

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police hope to make this 4th of July a safer one as they conduct anti-violence raids across the city.

It is something very similar to what was done for Memorial Day Weekend. The police department identifies those people who they believe are more likely to commit violent crime and then they take them off the streets, more often than not, arrested on some sort of drug charge.

It's an operation which began nearly four weeks ago as police began to target those they believe are responsible for the bulk of the gun violence in Chicago.

"The goal was to get them off the street so the rest of the city can have a safe 4th of July," said Organized Crime Bureau Chief Anthony Riccio.

CPD says most of those targeted have committed some sort of drug offense. In some cases they are the gang leaders. In others the so-called gang shooters.

Fifty eight arrests were made just Monday. Of these, police say 38 are convicted felons and 10 had prior gun-related convictions.

"It takes them out of play for a period of time, so that's always a benefit because if you have less people out there driving the violence out there, in theory you should have less violence," said Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

So far this weekend, 59 people have been shot, six fatally, across the city. Overall, Chicago police said in the first six months of the year there has been a 14 percent decline in shootings compared to last year.

But the department isn't celebrating yet and this weekend's gang-enforcement operation is still underway.

"If you're one of these gang-bangers. If you're one of these guys driving the violence you'd be smart to stay underground today cause... there's going to be a significant number of people going to jail today as well," said Chief Riccio.

The effect of these arrests are temporary since most offenders will be back on the street eventually, but they do help to reduce crime on holiday weekends. CPD points out the arrests usually result in gun and drug seizures as well, which helps to garner additional charges and longer sentences for those involved.
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