Several large Irish gangs, such as the Dukies and the Shielders, exerted a powerful influence on the street life around the stockyards, raiding peddlers, robbing men leaving work, fighting among themselves, and terrorizing the German , Jewish , and Polish immigrants who settled there from the s to the s. During this period, gangs became entrenched in the patronage networks of ward machines. Based in saloons and clubhouses, and often claiming the membership of over a hundred men ranging from their late teens to early thirties, these clubs ensured the elections of their patrons by stuffing ballot boxes and intimidating voters. By the early twentieth century, Polish and Italian gangs were the most numerous in Chicago.
Chicago needs a change in anti-violence strategies. Gangs today are not so much the cause of violence as one of the effects of distressed communities. We need to switch our focus from targeting gangs criminally to a strategy of economic and social development in high-violence African-American neighborhoods with concentrated poverty. Gangs in Chicago have changed dramatically in recent years, but our violence intervention strategies have not. The old hierarchical super-gangs, fighting citywide over control of drug trafficking, are largely gone. African-American gangs have fractured into different types of cliques and neighborhood peer groups, affiliated more with rappers than with the old gang chieftains. While some violence is still drug related, much of it is interpersonal, setting off cycles of retaliation, particularly on the South Side. The different sources of violence call for different types of law enforcement tactics. Race is at the root of the reasons why African-American gangs fractured. The conference showed how, decades later, the demolition of CHA towers in the late s and early 21st century scattered residents, including youthful gang members, into surrounding areas.
About The Trace
On July 22, 15 people were shot outside of a Chicago funeral home. At a press conference about the incident, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said the shooting was likely gang-related. In the case of the funeral shooting, rival factions repeated this cycle. Gun violence in Chicago is up this year following a relative decline since an apex in
The Outfit rose to power in the s under the control of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone , and the period was marked by bloody gang wars for control of the distribution of illegal alcohol during Prohibition. Since then, the Outfit has been involved in a wide range of criminal activities, including loansharking , illegal gambling , prostitution , extortion , political corruption , and murder. Capone was convicted of income tax evasion in , and the Outfit was next run by Paul Ricca. He shared power with Tony Accardo from until his death in ; Accardo became the sole power in the Outfit upon Ricca's death and was one of the longest sitting bosses of all time upon his death in the early s. Though it has never had a complete monopoly on organized crime in Chicago , the Outfit has long been the most powerful, violent, and largest criminal organization in Chicago and the Midwest in general. Its influence at its peak stretched as far as California , Florida , and Nevada , and it continues to operate throughout the Midwestern United States and Southern Florida , as well as Las Vegas and other parts of the Southwestern United States. Higher law enforcement attention and general attrition has led to its gradual decline since the late 20th century, though it continues to be one of the major and most active organized crime groups in the Chicago metropolitan area and Midwest. The early years of organized crime in Chicago, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, were marked by the division of various street gangs controlling the South Side and North Side, as well as the Black Hand organizations of Little Italy. Big Jim Colosimo centralized control in the early 20th century. Colosimo was born in Calabria , Italy, in , immigrated to Chicago in , where he established himself as a criminal.