What is some information about Chicago gangs

Crime: Like Al Capone once did: Hundreds of gangs are terrorizing Chicago

Tannika Humphries is desperate. Her daughter's body lies in front of the altar of the Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. Laid out in an open white coffin, lined with purple velvet. Jahnae was the oldest girl and yet her "baby", as she says. The 41-year-old is the mother of nine children, six boys and three girls. "Now I only have eight," she says.

Jahnae fell victim to a violent crime a few days ago, and a shot in the face disfigured the young woman's body. Her death is part of the brutal reality on the streets of Chicago. Gangs of young people are marauding in the shabby neighborhoods to the south and west of the city. The police have to watch as adolescents wipe out the young lives of their peers. Almost daily.

Suddenly the street war reaches the church: the police have to intervene

Tannika Humphries does not even come to rest in grief. The funeral has not yet begun when it gets bustling in front of the coffin. Members of a street gang have come to say goodbye, with great gestures and even more pathos. Cell phones are pulled out of the pockets of the trousers, the waistband of which hangs at knee height, and a short message from rivals is enough to blow up the funeral service. Police move in, the guests flee behind massive doors for fear of being shot.

Chicago in the summer of 2018 - the city of Al Capones has become the capital of crime again. Even if the murder rates in terms of the number of inhabitants in Memphis or Baltimore may be even higher - in some districts of the metropolis on Lake Michigan, the law of the street rules like hardly anywhere else. Crime skyrockets in the summer - and crime in Chicago often means murder.

Hopelessness: West-Side and South-Side Chicago are neglecting

On the first weekend in August, 77 people were hit by rifle and pistol bullets, 12 died. Even weeks later, only one investigation has been initiated against one suspect. The Chicago Police Department's record two weeks later is not much more encouraging: 55 gunshot wounds, 9 dead. Hundreds of street gangs fight each other and terrorize the city, often twelve-year-olds are already out and about with firearms. It's about drugs, money - and just the pre-eminence in the neighborhood.

The street war in the city of three million is limited to a few districts on the West Side and the South Side - districts, mainly inhabited by Afro-Americans, underdeveloped, with no prospects. Barack Obama once had early political experience here and his wife Michelle grew up here.

The area around Garfield Park on the West Side with the adjacent Lawndale district is one of them. The brick buildings are unadorned, the green areas would be called functional if one wanted to avoid the word loveless. Not many dare to take to the streets, especially not after dark.

The police are powerless, trying to prevent the worst and manage the violence. "They shoot. And the reason they do that is because they can get away with it," says Police Chief Eddie Johnson. Courts and prosecutors would have to take tougher action. "These shootings are not accidental," says the police chief. Most of them are the result of rivalries between street gangs. "We know her," adds Johnson, looking helpless.

US police with personnel problems

The clear-up rate for murder in Germany is 90 percent. In Chicago it is 14 percent. Critics like Pastor Ira Acree say the police have been thinned out. The murder rate in relation to the number of inhabitants is almost twice as high as in New York, for example. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has problems hiring enough police officers. His attempt to send more patrol officers into the neighborhoods failed.

In general: Emmanuel, mayor of the city for over seven years, is the focus of the criticism of the authorities, which are overflowing these days. There is talk of years of corruption, arrogance, even racism. "Chicago is the most racist city in the United States," said Greg Livingstone, a black pastor who heads an organization called the Coalition for a New Chicago.

Livingstone is a tall, beefy man. He lives in the rough south and knows his way around the problem areas. Livingstone goes where others no longer go, in the parks and green spaces, for example, even in the dark. "We have two different cities here," says Livingstone. On the one hand, the glamorous north, on the shores of Lake Michigan, where the rich and famous sip champagne on boats and tourists admire the architecture of the historic Art Deco skyscrapers. On the other hand, the neglected south and west.

The people there have no jobs, the houses are shabby, uninhabitable and dingy. "Stop making the city center more beautiful," Livingstone calls out to the mayor. "Puts money in the problem areas." New houses would have to be built - by blacks. Closed schools should reopen. This Monday, the pastor and a few hundred like-minded people rioted on a highway near the airport - in protest against the violence and the impotence of state authority.

Livingstone raises money and helps the poor. Without him, Tannika Humphries would not have been able to pay for her daughter's funeral. "I love you, okay!" He says to the woman. Then he has to move on.

Citizens' initiatives try to offer young people an alternative

Citizens' groups like Livingstone are springing up like mushrooms in Chicago. Often it is small organizations at the neighborhood level that are trying to improve a few things. Many organize peace celebrations with basketball hoops and free food - the desperate attempt to offer the children and young people from the block an alternative to the violence-prone life in the gang.

Elizabeth Ramirez and Robert Torres, for example. You founded the initiative "Parents for Peace and Justice" and are trying to get the children off the streets. At the same time, they want to give some comfort to parents whose children have been killed. Ramirez, 53, lost her son in a shootout seven years ago. "He gave his life for two others," says the mother with tears in her eyes. To this day, she doesn't know who killed him. "We need more investigators," she says too.

Marshaun Bacon and his professionally run BAM ("Becoming A Man") initiative take a different, optimistic approach. The social workers go directly to the schools and look after young people there who have been classified as endangered by their teachers. 6,800 boys and 1,800 girls - almost exclusively Afro-Americans and Latinos - have found better support in the large intervention program.

Take a deep breath: "Becoming A Man" is having an effect

"We were able to increase the rate of school leaving certificates by 20 percent," says spokeswoman Veronica Resa. The crime rate among the participants fell by 50 percent. "What sets our program apart from others is the socio-emotional component," says Bacon. The young people learned that it was better to take a deep breath before responding to a provocation, for example. "That helps in the classroom with the teacher or with the racist police officer who wants something from you or with the boss who simply gets on your nerves."

The experts agree that progress in Chicago must come in small steps. At the moment the statistics are sobering. Every 3 hours someone is shot, every 15 hours someone is killed by bullets. It would be a success if the time spans in between grew longer. After all: The past weekend was comparatively quiet - 23 injured and 6 dead by Labor Day on Monday. Whenever things get better in Chicago, it's already too late for Tannika Humphries and her family. (dpa)