Illinois May Soon Combat Gangs With RICO Law

A recent report says that the Latin Kings, Maniac Latin Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Sureño 13 and Vice Lords are the city’s most dangerous gangs.

A law awaiting the signature of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn would allow authorities to use RICO anti-racketeering laws against street gangs blamed for up to 80 percent of homicides in Chicago.

The Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law, known as Street Gang RICO, was passed last week by the state’s General Assembly.

If the bill becomes law, gangs will be treated as criminal businesses and both police and prosecutors will be able “to combat the disease and not just the symptoms,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said.

“Under our current state laws, we really are only able to prosecute gang crimes as isolated events, and essentially attack the problem one crime at a time,” said Alvarez, whose jurisdiction includes Chicago.

With the new tool, prosecutors will be able to link different crimes committed by a gang into a single case in an effort to dismantle the organization and hold its leaders accountable, she added.

According to police figures, 75-80 percent of the murders in Chicago can be attributed to the activities of some 600 gangs that periodically fall out with one another and resort to violence to settle their differences.


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