The Sun-Times discusses the The Gang Book, a compilation of data about the gangs that operate in the Chicago area. Most of the information is quite surprising to me; distressingly, it also appears to have surprised the police.
The average leader of a Chicago street gang is 43, and more often than not he lives in the leafy suburbs of Cook County.
He typically has been convicted of murder.
In some gangs, his underlings have tried to infiltrate the Cook County Clerk's office; the Cook County Sheriff's office; the Chicago Police Department, and even the College of DuPage's criminal justice classes.
I occasionally teach classes at the College of DuPage. A less gang-related campus I can hardly imagine.
Chicago's gang leaders are finding new ways to do business, too.
Many supervise lucrative mortgage fraud schemes to supplement their traditional bread-and-butter enterprise: drug trafficking, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in profits a year in the Chicago area.
Metropolitan Chicago's gang leaders -- more than 100 of them -- control more than 70 gangs with more than 70,000 members.
Gangs have likely infested the school system as well:
More than 14,600 crimes were reported on Chicago school property last year between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and excluding weekends, involving both students and non-students, the report said. Strangely, though, only 217 of those crimes were reported as gang-related. "A reasonable explanation for this could be that the victim rarely reported the incident as gang-related or the investigator did not classify the incident as gang-related," the book said.