Operation Legend Chicago: 53 homicides in August versus 3 homicides in September
U.S. AG William Barr this week announced that 500 arrests and 124 federal charges have been secured so far in Chicago, in the joint federal and local effort to tame gun crime in big cities across the nation called Operation Legend.
“He also announced that since launching Operation Legend in Chicago on July 22, the homicide rate has declined significantly,” said a statement by the Justice Department. “In fact, when comparing the seven weeks prior to the operation’s launch with the five weeks immediately following the launch, homicides in Chicago declined 50%.”
The operation involves over 1,000 federal agents in nine cities and is named after LeGend Taliferro of Kansas City, who was shot to death at age four as he slept in his bed earlier this year. LeGend had previously survived open-heart surgery to repair a genetic defect.
Local ABC News 7 Chicago reports that authorities are targeting felons with a history of gun offenses, in addition to local gangs and plain scofflaws, in their investigation.
“There are now large scale, counter-gang investigations underway involving confidential informants, covert aerial surveillance and dangerous street work, according to officials,” said ABC 7.
“The past week, however, there have also been seemingly easier marks put on the books, with numerous ex-cons arrested on gun charges during more casual street stops.”
One con, with a 40-year history of felonies, was nabbed by Chicago Police with a “Glock .45 pistol, suspected heroin and crack cocaine that appeared to be packaged for sale and other accouterments of the drug business” because he parked his car with the idle going more than 12 inches from the curb.
“When the operation was announced on July 22, homicides in the city were up 51 percent over 2019. Over the first five weeks of Operation Legend in Chicago, murders dropped by 50 percent,” said Barr in a press conference according to Reuters.
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has only given grudging support to federal efforts, while openly feuding with President Donald Trump over Operation Legend, says that the drop in murders has nothing to do with federal efforts.
“We started to see a downward trend in shootings and homicides really beginning in late July,” Lightfoot said. “The first additional federal agents who came to Chicago as a part of Operation Legend didn’t even get here until August 3, and those were a trickle over the course of a month.”
Nearly 3,000 people have been shot in Chicago in 2020, which is 951 more than all of 2019 according to a database from the Chicago Tribune that tracks city shootings. So far, Chicago Police have recorded three homicides for September versus 53 for August according to an analysis by American Wire.
Supporters of the effort say that it’s better to do something than what they were trying in Chicago previously.
“We have to take it a step farther and calm the violence down,” said LeGend’s mother, Charron Powell of Operation Legend.
PHOTO: E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune
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