Vice Squad
Friday, January 30, 2004
Drug Bust in Chicago

A couple of things struck me about a story in the Sun-Times today regarding a recent drug bust in Chicago. Chicago police recently broke up what they say was a $7,000 a day heroin operation. The operation was called "The Hole" and was headquartered in the Harrison police district, one of the absolute worst neighborhoods in Chicago.

Two things I found interesting: 1) These stories always have to point out that inner-city drug rings cater to suburban customers. I haven't been able to find any studies out there to corroborate whether or not the customers of urban drug dealers are mostly suburbanites, but it's a claim that I find somewhat hard to believe. I can't imagine why anyone would voluntarily go into one of these neighborhoods when it's simply not that difficult for the purchaser of the drug to find a dealer much closer to home. People don't want to talk about the fact that it's not hard to get cocaine or heroin in affluent neighborhoods from local dealers. You don't have to skulk around the gritty underbelly of a major city to find the stuff.

I think police are instructed by politicians to scare suburban voters into believing that the only way drugs are getting into their communities is through these evil inner cities, and thus they will vote to continue this war on urban America.

2) One of the officers involved in the bust stated said that disrupting the operation reduces violence that claims innocent lives. He said, "If you can take away that crime, take away that opportunity, you're going to reduce violence on the street''. If you can take away that crime. Disrupting the heroin trade is just that - a disruption. It's often minor, and never permanent. Taking away the crime, however is a much more permanent solution, and would greatly reduce the violence that plagues these neighborhoods. How do you take away the crime? Stop making this practice a criminal one.

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