All gangs are criminal enterprises and all gang members are criminals

All gangs are criminal enterprises and all gang members are criminals

Some years back there was a very good restaurant on Grand Avenue. It was open for lunch and early dinners. It served sandwiches, salads, pasta, and pizza. The place was packed for lunch, the phones rang off the hook for orders, and there was heavy traffic of people picking up carry out.

On paper, the restaurant was owned by a woman under her maiden name. It was really owned by her husband, a career Chicago Outfit burglar. He had been to prison for various felonies.

The husband was always around, helping run things and doing whatever remodeling or other work had to be done to upgrade the place.

The restaurant was open six days a week. It closed for a few months after she applied for a liquor license. Work had to be done to bring the restaurant into compliance with licensing ordinances and codes.

When the place reopened, they were doing a door busting business.

Shortly after reopening, the place abruptly closed. The husband was arrested for a small time burglary. Since he was a known Outfit associate, it would not be long before authorities put two and two together about the restaurant and closed it themselves or pulled the liquor license, a death knell.

The moral of this tale is career criminals are just that, career criminals. They could have a million or billion dollars. If some score comes along, no matter how petty, they will commit the crime.

Something more than childhood poverty or greed drives career criminals. Prison does not reform them. Success does not reform them. Even great wealth does nothing to make them mend their ways.

The Chicago Tribune ran a story about the murder of Michael Smith, a security guard, and bouncer at a South Loop nightclub. Smith was allegedly killed on orders by Comfort Robinson, a career criminal.

Comfort Robinson is described as a high-ranking member of the Conservative Vice Lords, one of the oldest continuing organized criminal enterprises in Chicago.

Smith was subpoenaed to testify against Robinson in a gun trial. Robinson was out on bond awaiting trial.

According to the Tribune, before the trial started, Robinson requested a jury trial. A new date was set.

Smith left the courthouse and went home to his family. An hour later he was killed. "A gunman fired nine rounds into Smith in front of his suburban Chicago home as his 3-year-old son stood along the kitchen window. Bullets ripped into Smith's head, neck, chest, and pelvis."

Prosecutors allege Comfort Robinson ordered the murder to keep Smith from testifying against him.

Comfort Robinson is a career criminal, like the guy who owned the restaurant. He is a high ranking member of a street gang, an organized criminal enterprise, like the Chicago Outfit.

It is past time we start treating street gangs, no matter their size, as organized criminal enterprises. All gangs are criminal organizations. All members of gangs are criminals.

Chicago is on track for another year of bloodshed. People will continue to be murdered. Many of them innocents. The elderly, children, toddlers, and infants included.

It is time to treat the gangs and drug cartels the same way the Outfit and Mafia were treated. Coordinated efforts by local and federal law enforcement, including the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS can track where bond money and legal fees come from, creating further misery for gangs and drug dealers. The IRS can also be useful when gang members and drug dealers are arrested.

The IRS can determine how much money arrested criminals are earning from the amounts of dope and cash confiscated. Then, they can determine how much income tax was evaded. All it would take is a reporting system, a simple card filled out after an arrest with the amounts and sent to the IRS.

The IRS is more dangerous to criminal organizations than the FBI or heavily armed SWAT teams.

If law enforcement cannot get the gangs and drug dealers for murders or selling drugs, they can get them for income tax evasion.

Like the Outfit, the street gang's and drug dealer's lives should be made so miserable they will either disband, leave town, or go so far underground, they will become comic symbols of their former selves.

The news media should be involved, putting the faces of these organized crime figures on the front pages and television news. Chicago needs compelling stories by reporters, like the former Sandy Smith, and hard-hitting editorials to put faces and names to the "invisible empire" of organized gangs and drug dealers.

The gangs and major drug dealers are wreaking wrack and ruin in Chicago neighborhoods. It is time to expose them, name names, put their pictures up and show people who these notorious criminals are. Again, no matter the size of the gang.

All gangs are organized criminal enterprises and all gang members are criminals. Let us start treating them that way.

 

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