Chicago cops are using data to fight gang violence

Chicago police fight gang violence

CHICAGO Chicago is suffering through a murderous year, more than 500 people gunned down so far. The police have drawn up a list of people likely to be shot -- in hope of saving them.

At about 8:45 on the night of June 15th, Antonio Perkins, 28, was filming himself -- and warily watching his block on the city’s west side.

“It’s hot. Mom, I’m hot. Mom, I’m hot,” Perkins said on the video. 

A documented gang member with a long arrest record, Perkins knew there were rival gangs in his neighborhood. He was cautious -- but not cautious enough.

Tony Perkins recorded a video of himself on Chicago’s streets, which captured his death. CBS Evening News

“Wassup!” Someone yells off-camera. Then there were several shots.

“Oh my god! Oh my god!” A woman is heard yelling. Others yelled “Tony! Tony!”

About 22 minutes later, Perkins died -- a death the police say was entirely predictable, because Perkins was on the department’s strategic subjects list, a list of 1,400 individuals at high risk in the city’s epidemic of violence.

Eighty-five percent of Chicago’s victims or victimizers are on that list -- a compendium of ages, records, associates and even wounds that helps track trouble -- data culled from the 600 gang factions and 100,000 documented gang members in this city.

“We can see the people associated wtih that gang faction,” says Jonathan Lewin, the deputy chief of technology. “At the end of the day, the goal of this entire program is to save lives.”

Jonathan Lewin, deputy chief of technology, explains the department’s strategic department’s list.   CBS Evening News

It helps the police make arrests. But it also pinpoints high risk individuals for what are called custom notifications.

“We try to let them know that if you continue down that path of behavior you’re eventually gonna shoot somebody or be a victim of a shooting yourself,” says Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Over 2,000 mostly gang members have such warnings in the last six years, and 87 percent have not gone on to commit another violent offense.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledges while increasing manpower and technology are important, restoring mutual trust between police and the people who live here, he says, is vital.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.