Halloween weekend was a deadly one in Chicago, which registered shootings that left 15 people wounded. The city has a high crime rate and dozens of gangs that most assume are responsible for the high levels of urban violence. However, many residents feel that it’s the very presence of dangerous drug dealers who keep them safe.
Mariah Monae, 16, told the Chicago Tribune, “When the drug dealers had left, that’s when everything started getting worse on this block.” She continued, “But when they was here, they was protecting us. They ain’t let none of that shooting stuff happen.”
Chicago is considered a hub city for Mexican drug cartel distributors because of its size and location. Authorities dismantled a $3 million-a-year heroin operation on the city’s West Side in June 2015, and the city has a long history of being a major link in Mexican drug cartels’ logistics network. Breitbart Texas reported in February 2015 that two of the Sinaloa cartel’s leaders in Chicago had been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Once cartels are able to ship illegal drugs into a major city, local gangs are responsible for distributing those drugs at the street level. Much of the gun violence in Chicago is due to gang turf battles and internal rivalries, but a considerable amount is also due to drug disputes and control over dealer territories. This being said, gang leaders know that excessive violence draws the attention of law enforcement and is ultimately bad for business. Without gang members who understand this “rule” and are willing to enforce the peace, violence tends to flare up.