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Running Gangs Out Of Town

In Cicero, Ill., residents are all too familiar with the sound of gunfire. Longtime residents say gang violence on the streets has turned them into prisoners in their homes. But these citizens voted to take back their streets and kick the gangs out.

In an attempt to crack down on big-city crime—in particular street gang violence—the city plans to evict anyone it suspects of being a gang member. The American Civil Liberties Union says the new law is unconstitutional, CBS News Correspondent Maggie Cooper reports.

"You start hearing gunfire," says Cicero resident Rhonda Waszkowski. "There was a kid killed right here on the corner just a few months ago, and a 14-year-old kid was beaten to death with a baseball bat on the other side of the block. You can't live like that."

"We are targeting the gang members that are involved on a regular basis in criminal activity," Town President Betty Loren Maltese says.

The ordinance, the first of its kind in the nation, will allow police officers to go after up to 600 known gang members and evict them from their homes.

"If they kick me out, where am I going to go?" asked one gang member. "I'd be another guy on the street. I have nowhere to go."

In the next two weeks, seven Cicero neighborhoods will be fitted with barricades. Many intersections will have a 24-hour manned checkpoint. And 100 new auxiliary police will be hired to stop everyone coming in—a move intended to help keep gangs out.

But in this community, where Latinos now make up the majority, critics say the law is just a new twist on a very old problem.

"Why are you putting barricades up?" asks Delia Barajas, of the Interfaith Leadership Project. "Why checkpoints? Once again, it shows you how they will be harassing our families, not for so-called gang members, but for illegal status and everything else. So it's not just about gangs, it's about Latinos."

It's a charge city officials deny. In coming weeks, the rest of the country may well be watching the battle to reclaim Cicero's streets.

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