Chicago Fugitive Unit Zeroes in on “Hot People”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
(graphic: Las Vegas Lights Dance Challenge)

With the city enduring a surge in murders this year, Chicago’s police force has decided to go after “hot” suspects. Within the Chicago Police Department is a Fugitive Apprehension Section, whose size doubled to 70 officers in June, charged with apprehending those on the “heat list.”


Who is on the “heat list?” Not just fugitives who have been linked to past homicide suspects, but also victims and those close to victims. The criteria for the list were based on the work of Yale University Sociologist Andrew Papachristos, an expert on Chicago gangs.


Joseph Salemme, commander of the fugitive unit, told the Chicago Sun-Times that “hot people” are those “stopped with a murder victim, or arrested with a murder victim—or victims—in the past two years.”


“Or they were two degrees of separation away from the victim or victims,” Salemme added.


About 165 people have been placed on the heat list so far, with 39 apprehended or located by police.


Chicago’s murder total for this year has already surpassed that of 2011. Overall, its murder rate is 14.5 per 100,000. But in some areas of the city, such as the Harrison District on the West Side, it is as high as 44.5.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Chicago Police Take Aim at Even Minor Fugitives When They’re on ‘Heat List’ (by Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times)


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