Chicago's best kept secret

This government exhibit was published and shown on television several times through the years until the mid 1990’s. It shows Anthony Accardo and many, if not all, the leaders, of the Chicago Outfit.

Tony Accardo, Sam Giancanna, Joey the Clown Lombardo, Phil Alderisio, John DiFronzo, Marshall Caifano, Anthony Spilotro, Salvatore DeLaurentis, Gus Alex, Lenny Patrick, Angelo LaPietra.

The above names, their pictures and video promulgated the news media during the 1960’s through the 1990’s. The people of Chicago knew who ran crime in their city. The public knew who the associates of organized crime were, the businessmen and politicians who were friends and enablers of the Outfit.

No one can name the street leaders of the Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings, Vice Lords, Netas, Black Gangsters, or any of the numerous gangs operating in Chicago. No one would recognize the leadership if they were walking down the street. The same holds true for the operators of the drug cartels.

If you try to publicly name a politician, clergyman, or business person associated with these criminal enterprises you are shamed and bullied. It is just not done.

The identities of gang leadership, known major drug distributors, and their enabling associates is Chicago’s best kept secret.

These organized criminal enterprises are allowed to operate in virtual anonymity. Citizens are not allowed to know who is ultimately responsible for the mayhem, bloodshed, and murder in Chicago. Citizens are not allowed to know who is peddling poison to their children. They are not allowed to know who among these criminal enterprises are operating the burgeoning illegal trade in weapons.

Some years ago activists, prominent journalists along with ethnic and racial journalist organizations complained that depicting street gang members and drug dealers in the news gave a disparaging view of Black and Hispanic communities as whole. They claimed it was a form of racism. They demanded publishers cease and desist naming gang leaders or showing their pictures in the news. Their persistence paid off.

The people who run Chicago’s news businesses caved in. Gang members and drug dealers disappeared from the front pages and inside news stories unless they were indicted, arrested, or convicted.

Law enforcement, on all levels bought into this because of their political masters. They stopped publicizing the names, faces, and charts of the criminal enterprises.

It is time to change the dynamic in Chicago. As of this writing there were over 400 shootings and almost 100 homicides since the beginning of the year.

First, law enforcement and journalists need to cooperate and let the public know who the enemy is. Splash their pictures and names, along with their associates, all over the news, like they did with the Outfit. Have reporters stalk, chase, and try to interview the criminal leadership with cameras rolling. Find out where they live and play. Make their lives miserable.

If politicians and clergy are associated with these criminal enterprises, make their lives miserable too. Ask them why they enable criminals. Ask them why they associate or employ criminals to do political work. Ask them how much money they are getting to protect organized criminal enterprises.

Retired Chicago Police Lieutenant, Robert Angone, wrote and editorial for Crain’s Chicago Business. Angone opined it is time to bring back specialized units within the Chicago Police Department to concentrate on gangs. Robert Angone is right. More is needed.

There must be a hard concerted and cooperative effort by the Chicago Police Department and various federal law enforcement agencies, including the IRS, ICE, and Customs, to go after the gangs and cartels from the bottom up and the top down. They need to build cases for RICO and other trials. They need to work in the community, talking the talk, getting people to inform, and gathering hard intelligence. Use court ordered electronic surveillance and any and all technology available. Utilize any and all legal means necessary to dismantle the criminal structures.

A strong message must be sent to the gangs and cartel bosses. Disband your criminal organizations, stop selling drugs in Chicago or your life will be a living hell. If you fight back, expect fire with fire. Basically, get out of Dodge.

It worked during the 1980’s in the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Area. The drug cartels made Miami-Dade the murder capital of the nation. A working group of federal and local law enforcement was formed, CENTAC-26. When they got through, Miami-Dade went from being the homicide and drug capital of the nation to being relatively safe.

A similar cooperative effort could work here. It takes political leadership and courage. It takes the news media to fully back and continually support the effort. It takes law enforcement and the media working together to identify and publish the workings of these criminal enterprises.

It is time to erase the stigma of “law and order”. For some reason “law and order” is considered a profane, vulgar, obscene, and racist phrase. It is past time to bring law and order to the neighborhoods that most need it.

Innocent people, especially children, are being killed by ruthless criminal enterprises. It is not just drugs. There is extortion, prostitution, robbery, burglary, mortgage fraud, infiltration of the music business, just to name a few. There are disputes over territory.

All gang members are criminals. All gangs are organized criminal enterprises. The same holds true for their allies in the drug cartels. It is past time to treat them as the notorious criminals they are.

It is not enough to beg them to stop the violence. Violence is a direct result of the crime business. If you want to stop the violence you have to seriously erode the business of crime.

Violence is power. Killing is power. Criminals hold the power. They own the neighborhoods and by extension the politics in those neighborhoods. That means law enforcement must go after politicians and any and all, no matter how high and mighty, who associate with criminals.

To paraphrase Mayor Emanuel, politicians, law enforcement and the Chicago news media have gone fetal on the mayhem, bloodshed, and murder in Chicago. There is no political will to attack the problem of organized criminal enterprises.

It is past time to stop worrying about offending the tender sensitivities of people. Lives are at stake.

People’s lives matter. Tender sensitivities do not.

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