The deployment of the Cicero Police Department Gang Crimes Tactical Unit was a revolutionary change in law enforcement strategy in the Town of Cicero. When Larry Dominick became Town President in 2000, he and his administration placed an emphasis on combating gang violence and improving the quality of life for the residents of the Town of Cicero. In doing so, President Dominick expanded the size and scope (or “responsibilities”) of the Gang Crimes Tactical Unit. Since there is a nexus between gangs, guns, narcotics and crime, the increased size of the Gang Crimes Tactical Unit has fostered greater efficiency and facilitated the rapid and proper deployment of resources to identified gang crime problems. This has resulted in more effective investigations, a quantifiable increase in arrests, and a reduction in the crime rate.
The Cicero Police Department Gang Crimes Tactical Unit will suppress gang activity by identifying local street gangs and their membership, and through aggressive response and proactive investigation of crimes committed by gang members and their associates. These investigations will include in-depth overt and covert investigations into various activities associated with criminal gangs. Particular focus will be placed on serious offenses impacting the safety of the citizens of this community, as well as quality of life issues surrounding gang activity. When these investigations lead outside the Town of Cicero, we will partner with the appropriate agencies to bring a successful conclusion to the case. The Gang Crimes Tactical Unit also supports the Mission Statement and Values of the Town of Cicero. Working hand in hand with Patrol, Investigations and Administration, along with the good Citizens of The Town of Cicero, the Gang Crimes Unit has created a united front in the war on gang violence.
–Commander Vincent C. Acevez (Bio)
Gang Crimes Tactical Unit Responsibilities
To perform highly responsible and professional work, directed towards the suppression of criminal gang activities in the Town of Cicero.
Maintains the Department’s gang information files, and maintains liaison with local and nationwide agencies with similar responsibilities.
Assists Patrol, Investigations and all outside agencies with gang information.
Take a proactive approach in an effort to reduce the appeal of gang membership with students. The members of the Gang Crimes Tactical Unit give talks at schools, both private and public, providing education to students, parents and teachers on the dangers of gang violence.
Definition of a Street Gang
Three or more people who:
• Share a unique name or have identifiable marks (such as tattoos, graffiti, colors, etc.)
• Associate together on a regular basis and sometimes claim a specific territory
• Engage in antisocial, unlawful or criminal activity
Warning Signs of Gang Involvement
• Lack of interest in school / grades dropping
• Often absent from school
• Disciplinary problems / lack of self-control
• Graffiti in school books / notebooks
• Tattoos or symbols on themselves or their clothing
• Always wearing the same colored clothing
• Dropping of old friends / being secretive about new friends and activities
• Possessing weapons
• Using slang language (using nicknames)
• Drug & alcohol usage
• Possessing large sums of money
• Refusing to account for their time spent away from home and not revealing who they were with.
• Physical signs of being in a fight, such as bruises and cuts
There is no one particular indicator that a child is involved in gang activity but a combination of these signs is a good indication that the child has some type of affiliation or contact with a gang.
Prevention Tips for Parents
• Show interest in your children’s everyday activities. (School, hobbies, whereabouts, friends)
• Find out about your children’s friends’ interests.
• Know the parents of your children’s friends.
• Prevent your child from becoming bored; plan constructive activities.
• Encourage membership in athletics or school clubs.
• Support volunteering time to school organizations or Town activities.
• Encourage your child to take a part-time job to earn money and learn the values of responsibility and hard work.
• Teach your children to respect other people and their property .
• Values such as honesty, self-reliance and responsibility are extremely important and best taught at home.
• Reinforce to your children that your family has no tolerance for gang involvement.
• Establish and enforce a family curfew.
The Gang Crimes Tactical Unit emphasizes working with the Community to eradicate street gang violence. The GCTU works closely with Neighborhood Watch, Parent Patrol, Clergy Committee, JIP, and other community-based groups in an effort to educate and empower the residents of the Town of Cicero in our efforts to eradicate street gangs. Our efforts as a Department are not enough; we need the cooperation of the community to win our battle against street gangs!