Chicago Police Supt. Gerry McCarthy says he is "optimistic" about the effectiveness of quelling gang violence with house visits to the members' homes.
The latest round of home visits to gang members began within 48 hours of the shooting death of 14 year-old Venzel Richardson on February 12 in the city's Woodlawn neighborhood. Two days after the shooting the commander of the Grand Crossing police district and fellow officers were knocking on the doors of known gang members warning them of harsh repercussions and prison sentences if they commit a crime. The gang members were also offered contracts for job training and other social safety net services. Although no one has been charged in the teen's murder, police say the gang war going on in the area has subsided following the home visits.
The "custom notifications" began seven months ago as a pilot program in the Austin neighborhood and has since been used in four police districts on the South Side and two others on the West Side, resulting in talks with 50 gang members, particularly those likely to have an effect on attempts to stymie the violence. Rounds of home visits take place in the wake of particular types of criminal activity.
“I’m optimistic this could be an effective method to put a wet blanket on something that’s taking off,” said McCarthy, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.