Friday, August 9, 2013

Robbery Hot Spots? Uptown Is Cool

Click to enlarge
(courtesy of Chris Chaten, via
The Crime In Wrigleyville & Boystown blog has a pretty amazing graphic highlighting robbery hot spots in the 19th District between 2008 and 2012.  Check out how the bright red and green areas, signifying the highest number of robberies, are all south of Irving Park Road in the more recent graphic.  (The compare-and-contrast circled area is roughly Montrose to Leland, along Sheridan and Broadway.)

In the accompanying article (which we recommend you read), they ask what has caused the downshift in the number of Uptown robberies.  Maybe the perception that Uptown is more dangerous has encouraged residents and visitors to take more precautions here.  Maybe the fact that the creep whose M.O. was to smash small storefronts' doors and windows finally got locked up has contributed to the statistical decline. Maybe a loud, informed and proactive community makes a difference in crime decreasing.

Don't blame the bars in Wrigleyville for the increase:  the number of bars (and presumably the number of drunken, careless victims) in Wrigleyville and Uptown has remained about the same throughout the time period in question.  Anyway, it's an interesting discussion; check it out.


  1. Gawd,

    I just flew eight hours to get home and I open up Uptown Update to see a delicious topic like this and I see no comments. You folks sorely disappoint me. I'm also disappointed that my arms are so tired. Next time I'll take a plane.

    Now I have little faith in police department stats regarding crime, but that being said it's been clear for years that with the BIG exception of gang gunfire that Lakeview has more muggings, assaults and even burglaries than Uptown. The famous gangster Willie Sutton purportedly said that he robbed banks because "that's where the money is". Criminals are attracted to Lakeview because that's what the criminally inclined might call a target rich environment.

    If you're looking for single drunks or groups of drunks to mug at 2am I can think of few better areas to "shop" at than Broadway, Clark and Halsted in Lakeview in the wee hours of the morning.

    Now I just spent 20 minutes skimming that Boystown/Wrigley crime blog and there seems to be some patterns to the violent criminality. Many of the misguided youth who are committing said muggings seem to be escaping via the Red Line. What does that tell us boys and girls?

    They're generally not Lakeview residents. No surprise there.
    Nearly every weekend in Lakeview has turned into something approaching Mardi Gras on Halsted in Boystown and Clark in Cubbyville. Greg Hinz from Crains wrote about it a few years back. I refuse to hyperlink just because of the soreness of my arms and my dyspeptic personality.

    Now I don't believe Uptown criminals are going to Lakeview in any substantial numbers. While there are clearly dozens of reasons behind the rise in crime in Lakeview and the drop in crime in Uptown I'll give the two simplest explanations in another comment.

  2. First, the rise in crime in Lakeview is linked to the aforementioned Mardi Gras atmosphere. Aldercritter Tunney and the non profit/business community need to start dealing honestly with the problems or the voters of that ward may find another individual to represent them in the council. I doubt Tunney could be beaten in 2015, but find a candidate with the Energizer Bunny qualities of James Cappleman and Tunney might beat a challenger in 2015 only to decide to "retire" in 2019 as that challenger positioned himself to run again in 2019.

    Second, the drop in crime in Uptown is relatively easy to explain. The Capplemaniac is targeting problem buildings and "encouraging" them to utilize better management methods to weed out the bangers. This has even meant targeting individual bangers and working on getting them "displaced" from the their lovely taxpayer funded housing.

    It's a slow non glamorous process, but over time it will prove effective in decreasing crime in Uptown. That doesn't mean the gang gunfire is going to disappear any time soon, but it should continue to decrease.

    Now close your eyes boys and girls and I'll tell you a story. It's about a man named Jed who barely kept him family fed......wait.


    Anyhoo, picture James Cappleman and his squad of Ward Office employees standing before a large three dimensional mockup/model of North Lakeview and Uptown. Let's just say that said model is located deep in the bowels of the Uptown Theater.

    Every building, vacant lot, and business in the area is represented on that model and some of them are tagged as problem buildings or having the potential to positively change the ward with new ownership/management or development.

    In other words picture the ward or Uptown or the general area as being one big puzzle. Every piece affects adjoining pieces and ultimately every piece affects every other piece.

    Chateau being renovated. Suddenly interest in developing nearby properties. Lawrence House under new ownership........

    You see where I'm going with this don't you?

    The Capplemaniac is tackling the problems in the ward one piece at a time. It ain't sexy. It doesn't make the trolls happy. I can guarantee that the next incident we have of gang gunfire, and there will be a next incident, will see comments on this blog demanding that Cappleman do something. Something like hiring retired Navy Seals to assassinate the bangers, suspending the constitution, sending said bangers to Gitmo, calling out the National Guard to incinerate the bangers with flamethrowers and sending their ashes to GITMO or a variety of other unconstitutional and flat out Inquisition like methods to get them out of the ward.

    Ain't gonna happen, folks. Like it or not this is still America and bangers have rights. Now perhaps the day will come when they have no rights. I don't look forward to that day because when the worst among us lose their rights then the rest of us are in danger of losing our rights too.

    God Bless America folks because even with all our obvious and horrendous faults we're still a better nation than most of the others.

    I would like to put in a word for Iceland though. Very cool country this time of year. I'm going to have to make it an annual trip even if my arms do get tired!

  3. That is one cool map. I would like to see it across other parts of the city. I bet Howard & Morse look pretty safe compared to these "danger zones". Interesting how the city transforms from safe to dangerous. Of course, I still remember the old skid row on Madison. Never thought it would be the way it is today.

  4. This is the only response I get. An alcohol related comment from Americanlt as he pursues his years long online performance art that is that persona?

    Not even a mention of his faithful canine companion Mister Poochy.

    Woe is me. Maybe if I mentioned those huge new planters in Uptown. I love how some folks even have to find a reason to criticize those.

    You know things are slowly getting better in Uptown when the number of daily comments at UU is in the low single digits. I guess it would take a serious outbreak of gunfire or a real contested election to reach double digits. I don't wish for the former and the latter is at least 18 months away.

    I leave you with a short scene from arguably the greatest western ever made: The Searchers. Perhaps it can be modified to speak to us UPTOWNicans.

    Lars Jorgensen: It's this country killed my boy. Yes by golly I tell you, Ethan...

    Mrs. Jorgensen: No Lars. It just so happens we be Texicans. Texican is nothing but a human man way out on a limb. This year and next, and maybe for a hundred more. But I don't think it'll be forever. Some day this country's gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come.

  5. IP for what its worth your absence was felt. Now go find YO and the party is complete

  6. I'll tell you why nobody comments here anymore. That's because things are getting better and most of us are really optimistic. However, each and every time I look at the comments on UU (no matter how good the news), it's always negativity. Even if someone does have a nice comment, it's ALWAYS followed with a "but...". I personally just can't handle so much negativity in my daily life, so most of the time I skip looking at the comments. I still very much keep up with UU. My only problem is with the negativity in the comments.

  7. The Belmont/Sheffield strip is extremely dangerous between the hours of midnight-6AM. The 24hr Subway restaurant & Dunkin Donuts are "hot spots" for crimes. The clubs Spin and Berlin attract trouble also.

  8. First, bout a reference to Mister Poochy in a new comment? Just for old blogs sake.

    UR, I'm unsure of where YO is. Perhaps the Scientologists got him.....ala.....that goofy story recently.

    Kookie, I agree the comments are often unnecessarily negative. I don't mind necessarily negative, but the idiocy about complaining about the types of plants put in planters or the color scheme seems to be just complaining to complain.

    I also agree that thing do seem to be slowly getting better. Cappleman is clearly knocking away at the issues in the ward. Sometimes one gangbanger or building at a time or one development site at a time.

    In more Uptown related news: Rick Kogan did a piece in the Tribune today regarding Graceland's restored chapel. Graceland is an underutilized gem for the community.

    I've never been in the chapel, but they've been working on it for years now.

    Since the restored chapel speaks to the divine I'll be kind enough to provide a link.

    You have to register at the Tribune to read it though.

  9. Pirate, Mr. Poochy is doing good compared to last summer. The vet says that dogs can develop anxiety & was put on a tiny dose of Valium. The frequent gun shots we would hear made it worse. A big thanks to CPD and the alderman for improving Uptown.

  10. Replies
    1. I guess it's true. You can't kill a man born to hang.

      Yo is back.