Speaking at a conference on gang crimes in Chicago today, Mayor Richard Daley said that the "War On Drugs" has been a failure.
"It seems gangs are escalating into national and international gangs. It's all about narcotics," he said at the First International Summit on Policing Criminal Street Gangs, being held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers.
The gang structure has grown more sophisticated, he said, and while America has been fighting a "War on Drugs" for years, there's been little headway made.
"There have been individual successes, yes. But in the long run it's been a complete failure," Daley said.
Taking up the "follow the money" approach, the mayor told a group of law enforcement and gang specialists from around the world that he would hire an IRS agent and have him go after the drug dealers' cash.
"You can chase a kid from one corner to another. We have to get the dealer who's getting all the money. If an IRS agent made one big case -- or 10 or 20 -- I'd give him a parade down State Street," he added.
Organizers of the summit are hoping that an exchange of crime fighting ideas from criminal justice scholars, gang specialists and police will prompt "out of the box" thinking to help curb the growing violence from street gangs.