CHICAGO – Gangsters score guns looting freight trains in Chicago. On the south side, in one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods, brazen criminals occasionally hit the jackpot: they loot freight containers carrying shiny, new guns, reported Fox News.
Gangsters score guns
Boxes of firearms are part of shipments that are destined for gun companies or gun shops across the country. But as gang members have caught on to the practice, they are ransacking the trains and gaining hardware that facilitates street terrorism. Many of the stolen weapons eventually make their way to the city’s blood-soaked streets.
“Any time you have individuals who can go in and steal guns from a train, that makes the environment very toxic,” said Pastor Cory Brooks, who leads a church around the corner from the freight yard.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that since 2013, more than 150 firearms have been reported stolen from freight trains. An Associated Press investigation revealed that some were traced to violent crimes and only 16 were recovered.
While 150 stolen guns might not seem like a large number, the reality of multiplication comes into play. According to ATF, one stolen firearm can be linked to at least 14 homicides. So do the math. The modest figure can potentially be linked to 2100 murders over time.
In a city that saw 1651 homicides over the past three years, it’s a big deal. To be clear, it’s the people that do the killing, but we should take steps to limit gangster’s access to weapons.
“How in the world are these kids getting these guns? I see them on Facebook. Everybody got guns. They can’t go purchase a gun, so where are they getting them from?” said city alderwoman Emma Mitts of the 37th Ward.
In one theft in particular, suspects stole more than 100 new Ruger handguns described as “pretty” in comparison to the shoddy, makeshift guns criminals in Chicago’s rough streets often use.
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Rail yard security
Brooks and Mitts both partially blame Norfolk Southern rail yard. For instance, they say it could easily beef up security to protect the sitting freight on its tracks. In other words, the company needs to do something before the weapons get in the hands of dangerous criminals.
“We need to be concerned about terrorists who could get into these areas unprotected here and steal things and explosives and really hurt our communities,” Brooks said.
Moreover, their point is well taken. Once the firearms reach destinations, they are usually protected by sophisticated security systems, and often times armed personnel nearby.
Norfolk Southern taking action
Norfolk Southern told Fox News that it’s fully liable for any stolen property. The company said it takes the issue seriously, working with all levels of law enforcement and recently increasing security around its tracks.
“While we can’t discuss the specifics of the ongoing investigations, we are taking significant steps to evaluate and adapt our security protocols, prevent criminal trespass and address community concerns,” Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay wrote in an email.
While working on this story, Fox News noticed a very responsive presence of security near the train yard.
“Norfolk Southern’s Chicago-based police department, the largest freight railroad law enforcement force in the city, is increasing patrols of rail yards using uniformed officers in marked cars and K-9 units,” Terpay wrote. “In addition, the department is conducting undercover surveillance investigations.”
The news should be a welcome relief to good people living nearby.
The company is hoping that beefed-up security at the rail yard would appease neighbors trying to keep guns out criminal hands in one of America’s deadliest communities.
“It only compounds that damage being done to our city,” Brooks said, “and it only hurts the individuals who are trying to live here and have a safe environment.”