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Message from Councilmember Jim Graham
Since October 1, we have experienced an unprecedented cycle of violence in various parts of the Ward , the likes of which I have not seen in my nine years in office. Well over a 100 shots have been recorded. Others have been heard, but not recorded.
I am writing this message because, up until now, the gang nature of much of this violence has not been made clear beyond a limited number of people. To be sure, we have had tragic accidents, shootings over drug deals of one kind or another, and even a very tragic car jacking.
But the lion's share of the shots fired in these past few weeks come from a spiraling incidence of violence among African American crews in Ward One. There has been an uninterrupted series of retaliatory shootings among several different crews. At various points, three crews have been fighting each other. "17th and Euclid", "CTU--Clifton Terrace University" (operating around the 1400 block of Girard) and "Hobart Stars" (off Georgia Avenue on the 700 blocks) have been variously involved.
To date, about ten people have been shot and wounded as a result of this gang violence.
So, we must be very clear about the cause of this violence.
Last Friday, MPD executed search warrants on the 700 block of Harvard, which is probably gang related. Two hand guns were obtained from that search. We have also seen a major increase in police presence and efforts by detectives. We also need better technology such as shotspotters and more effective cameras.
More police actions are also anticipated.
However, due to the unique structure of crews, we need longer term solutions as well. Chief Lanier is currently considering my proposal to establish a unit exclusively dedicated to monitoring and engaging African American crews in Ward One.
There are an estimated 10 crews in Ward One. It is recognized that young people have a need to associate themselves with a larger group with similar interests and needs. Many of the realities facing a young person who becomes active in a crew stem from a broken, ineffective educational system and the lack of jobs and training. For this reason, I am continuing to work closely with the Mayor, the City Administrator and Chancellor Rhee in addressing the root causes of crime and I support programs that will engage young people in more meaningful ways.
Ward One is experiencing a stunning economic revitalization. We have worked hard to preserve our diversity. I am committed to making sure all of our residents have an opportunity to participate and share in the prosperity coming to our neighborhoods. For everyone's sake, this violence has got to be brought to an end.
Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham