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Chicago police announce new anti-gun violence initiative
The Chicago Police Department on Monday announced a new anti-gun violence initiative following another violent weekend, during which more than 50 people were shot in the city and 11 died.
Police Superintendent David Brown announced that the department would be creating a team of 50 officers who will target gun traffickers, straw buyers, disreputable licensed firearm dealers and anyone who contributes to bringing illegal guns into Chicago, ABC News reports.
"The point of this investigations team - which is new and unique, and a first in its class - is to get the gun before it hits the streets at the trafficking level," Brown said at a news conference. "These third parties need to hear me loud and clear: We're coming for you, and we're going to try to charge you with the highest charge we can, if not in the federal system, then at the state attorney's office."
Apart from the new team, a 24-hour gun trafficking tipline will also be established to "give Chicago residents a voice to remove these tools for violence from the streets of Chicago." According to Brown, "significant payouts" will be given to those who give tips that lead to an arrest.
ABC notes that an 11 percent increase in shootings has been observed in Chicago since this same time last year. Brown said police officers across the country are seeing drive-by shooting levels that rival those that were seen in the 1980's and 90's.
"Do not buy guns for violent people is our message, or you will pay the price for them by doing what we hope to be serious time," Brown added, addressing those who buy illegal guns. "Whatever they're paying you to go buy these guns ... it's blood money."
According to Brown, the new team will work closely with both federal and state authorities to take down gun pipelines. The team will focus in particular on tracking down who sells an illegal gun.