Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jun 2013
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2013 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Clyde Cronkhite


To combat Chicago's gang and drug violence, I know there are many 
suggestions, but here is one that worked when I was a police chief. 
The goal was to get rid of the drug business in our city and create a 
way to pay for the required overtime of our officer. The approach was 
through asset forfeiture - to confiscate everything connected with 
drug trade. The cars, vans and houses of the dealer were confiscated, 
but, more important, the vehicles of the drug buyers were also 
confiscated. Through the media and billboards, we let anyone entering 
our town to buy drugs know that when we arrested them, we would 
confiscate their vehicles.

We confiscated so many vehicles that the U.S. Marshals Service 
(overseeing drug forfeiture) open a used-car sales lot in our city so 
we could get a fast turnaround on the sales to use to pay for the 
overtime of our officer working on this problem. Sure the dealers 
moved their sale locations, but they were easy to follow as they had 
to so inform their customers.

Our city soon became a place not to buy drugs because of the threat 
of not only arrest but loss of the buyers' vehicles. Fewer buyers 
equaled fewer sales and resulted in less gang violence.

- - Clyde Cronkhite, professor emeritus and former police executive, Macomb, Ill.
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