Elmwood Park sees increase of gangs, but not active
The Chicago Crime Commission "Gang Book."
Updated: March 3, 2012 8:34AM
Elmwood Park Police Chief Frank Fagiano said there is no active gang issue in the village, but for those handful of gang members living in the village, “we know who they are.”
According to Chicago Crime Commission’s “The Gang Book,” which was released Friday, there has been “an increase in gang activity Elmwood Park since 2008.”
There is an estimated 40 gang members in the village, according to “The Gang Book.”
Nine active gangs operate in Elmwood Park. M.O.B Maniac Latin Disciples, Imperial Gangsters and Latin Kings were ranked as the biggest concerns, according to “The Gang Book.”
The commission listed M.O.B. as the newest gang in the community since 2008.
Fagiano said the commission’s findings are consistent with the information his department has, but there presence is not strong.
“We have no active gang issues going on,” he said. “That’s pretty evident in the community.”
But he admits that M.O.B. gang is new to the village.
“That’s a young group and they tattoo themselves,” he said.
“They tattoo themselves with M.O.B. We know who they are.”
Fagiano said they don’t label people as part of a gang until they get evidence that the person may be a part of one.
“We don’t label them as gang members,” he said. “Either they are self-admitted or from prior arrest we know they are gang members. Some gang members are proud of their gang affiliation and they will come out and tell you.”
He said the closest thing the village has in terms of gang activity is tagging, which is rare.
“We have it (tagging) immediately removed by our code department,” he said.
“You drive around the community you see we don’t have gang graffiti.”
He said just because Chicago Crime Commission says gangs are in the village they may have moved since the commission’s findings. “Just because the say M.O.B is here they could have moved out of Elmwood Park,” he said.
“I think it’s the vigilance on the police department’s part,” he said in regards to gang prevention. “We take proactive steps against gangs through community outreach.”
“The residents of Elmwood Park still enjoy a very nice community,” he said.