Police say they have arrested six suspects and recovered five guns, including a machine gun, during a crime suppression detail to address a surge in gun violence in Zion.
The Zion Police Department said they detected a sudden surge in gun-related crime in Zion at the beginning of this month.
One of those incidents involved multiple gunmen exchanging fire in a shootout last Tuesday. It resulted in multiple homes and vehicles being shot up near 27th Street and Galilee Avenue.
Zion Police Department Lt. Christopher Sweeting said the police department is continuously monitoring crime trends throughout the city. “As increases are detected, it begs two questions: why did the crime spike and what is being done about it?”
The detectives in the Zion Police Department Street Crime Unit investigated several occurrences and found correlations between two groups feuding with each other, which accounted for almost 50% of recent incidents, Sweeting said.
Zion Police Chief Eric Barden authorized a crime suppression detail specifically targeting the groups of individuals responsible for committing the crimes.
The detail, which commenced on Thursday and ran through the weekend, was staffed by Zion police officers and detectives as well as members of the Lake County Special Investigation Group (SIG).
Sweeting said six people were arrested on felony weapon charges. An arrest warrant was issued for a seventh person.
Four handguns and a machine gun were recovered. Three stolen vehicles were recovered and one vehicle was seized for weapons violations.
In total, 61 traffic stops were conducted.
“The Zion Police Department understands that while conducting such enforcement details, some law-abiding citizens with no connection to gun violence might get traffic stopped. While these are legitimate traffic violations, the detail only issued 3 traffic tickets as required in connection to arrests for weapons offenses,” the department said in a statement.
Drivers who were stopped and not linked to criminal activity were quickly sent on their way, Sweeting said.
“Most were understanding when officers explained the efforts being taken and we at the Zion Police Department are immensely grateful for that as we cannot make a difference without your help,” he said.
Officers on the detail also knocked on over 80 doors and handed out flyers with information in areas affected by some of the most recent incidents.
“The overwhelming response from the community was positive and people seemed to appreciate having the directed attention in their neighborhoods,” Sweeting said.
He added that the work “does not stop here” and the community plays an important role in providing information to the police.
The Zion Police Department is still actively investigating several crimes of gun violence.
Those who have information can call the Zion Police Department Street Crimes Division at 847-746-4091 or the Zion Police Department Drug and Gang Unit at 847-746-4100.
Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Lake County Crime Stoppers at 847-662-2222.