Monday, March 17, 2008

Graff Artists Strike At Staples, That Was Easy

A reader just sent in this pic from Staples at Clark and Wilson. He surmises the tags are from the "Latin Kings" who are prevalent in this area of Uptown. It is about gang initiation time, isn't it?


  1. I noticed this yesterday morning. Must have happened over night on Saturday as it wasn't there that afternoon. What a disgrace. Staples? Really? Enough's enough with these people. Find them and prosecute them.

  2. Is it initiation time, already?

    Spring ..., sun, warmer temps, cool breezes and the wafting of that new gang-banger smell.

  3. The police have a theory that the homeless guy who was shot to death sleeping outside in front of Wilson Care last September was the victim of a gang initiation.

    Please, if you see people sleeping rough, call 311 and have the police do a well-being check. Getting them off the streets at night may save their lives.

  4. Looks like the Latin Kings have struck again. They have been observed a lot lately at Wilson and Clark.

    Best guess is that the upside down fork is a sign of disrespect to the Gangster Disciples.

  5. You see the crown and the upside down fork and it just screams "Latin Kings".

    They do seem to be hanging out from Montrose to Lawrence and Clark to roughly Ravenswood Avenue.

  6. "Spring ..., sun, warmer temps, cool breezes and the wafting of that new gang-banger smell."

    On Thursday of last week, there was a shooting on Sunnyside, near Hazel. MSM doesn't appear to be paying much attention to that one. Shocking, I know. I have no idea if it was gang related (wouldn't be shocked if it was). Nice weather has a way of shakin' crap like this out.

  7. I didn't get any kind of a notification from Shiller's office about this shooting. Did you?

  8. Saw this yesterday, too. One of the worst taggings I've seen in a while.

  9. I live near the area. We went to the grocery store, came back and the street was blocked off by police cars. I counted about 8 at the Sunnyside/Clarendon intersection. Not sure how many were on Sunnyside/Hazel intersection.

    I've neither received nor seen any notification about this shooting from Shiller's office or CPD.

  10. I like right at Sunnyside and Clarendon, and the steet was closed most of Thurs night. I called the Community policing office on Friday, and they said it was a shooting, with 1 person treated and released. They would not give me any other info.

  11. Whatever happened to those shootings back in Sept.?

    Did the police ever find out why Mario Bell was shot right in front of his girlfriend in the same area the homeless guy was killed?

    So we have how many gangs that call Uptown home turf?

    Latin Kings
    Gangster Disciples
    Vice Lords (Traveling, Conservative)

    What areas do these gangs control?

    I know there are some websites with maps but I do not trust them that much.

  12. Oh,I can't wait for summer. Here comes all the riffraff again!

  13. Spring is in the air and the gangs are coming out of hibernation. James had a really good campaign mailing that showed the gang territory in Uptown. Wondering if we can get this posted.

    Gang recruiting starts soon. They are marking their territory. Think dogs peeing to mark theirs.

    The young kids will be heavily recruited. They pick off the kids just before they go through puberty.

    The three murders all in one week last September have not been solved. And what do you hear about it from the Alderman's office. Call Denise Davis and she's probably have an answer for you.

  14. James had a really good campaign mailing that showed the gang territory in Uptown. Wondering if we can get this posted.

    Gang Map of the 46th Ward

  15. Thanks for the map, it was exactly what I was looking for.

    Now I wonder how hard it would be to get all of the low income housing lots overlaid on top of the map. Would be interesting to see any patterns.

  16. Regarding a housing & gang map, I think you would find some general relationship only because gangs recruit children from poor families and also recruit family members. It is not the low-income housing per se that is the problem (obviously that is keeping people from living in worse poverty and in homelessness). The most interesting patterns in the map are where the busts happened. What is it about those spots that make a heavy amount of gang activity happen?

    For example, let's take the bust at Lawrence and Sheridan. There is a strip mall there with parking, a convenience store and nearby alleys to run away to. There is no camera like on Wilson. It is also right near the territory division line between Gangster Disciples and Black P Stone and Conservative Vice Lords. The important things to think about are gang's territories, borders between them and then whatever physical and non-gang related neighborhood characteristics can come into play.

  17. Well its good to see we have a nice diverse community. Look at the wonderful gang choices we're all presented with. Thanks Alderman Shiller!

  18. Does anyone know of any public statements Alderman Shiller has made regarding gangs?

    Given what I know of her, it seems that she may view them as a form of street-level activism. Especially since gangs are known to provide resources back to the communities they come out of (i.e., meals for kids, death benefits to families), they are viewed a bit differently from within than from the outside.

    My guess is that her position is more along the lines of the "from within" perspective. However, that doesn't quite fit with her duties as alderman. Anyone know what she has said publicly?

  19. What is the community doing through CAPS to address these gangs, their tactics, recruiting, and impact on the neighborhoods?

    We had a very informatative CAPS meeting with a female sargent from the Police Gang unit a few years ago. Boy did that open my eyes.

    Yet it was a one-shot meeting and we never developed any tactical plan from it. I'm thinking we may want to do this.

    Heck I know several of the gang members by name, they live all around me.

  20. Just drove by Staples. The graffiti has been painted over.

  21. Hey, don't those crazy kids know that cans of spray paint are illegal in Chicago? So are guns! That's why we never have grafiti or gun-related murders in Chicago! Oh, wait...

  22. this is gang related.
    those are not graffiti artist.
    please get your facts right.

  23. I stumbled upon this discussion board as I was trying to find the hours of Staples so that I could make copies of an article on peace that I plan to use as a discussion tool in my classroom tomorrow to address International Day of Peace-which is today (Sunday 9/21/08). Given the topic of your discussion and my purpose for examining peace in our lives on this day, I felt it appropriate that I respond.

    From the many postings on the gang-related vandalism and violence in the area, I sense that people are frustrated. I sense frustration with what seems like a lack of action/answers/responses from alderman and/or police. I suspect the outrage, frustration and sarcasm in those postings are coming from those not used to dealing with the issue of gangs. I say this, not because I am necessarily, but because, as a Chicago teacher, I have noticed that those used to these violent lifestyles have accepted this. They don't bother with outrage at such vandalism and violence because it is such a part of their everyday lives. I write this because I find my student's acceptance disheartening, and the energy I'm reading in your outrage could be a wonderful catalyst in such a troubled community.

    The problem of gangs seems to run so deep from my perspective as a Chicago Public School teacher. I certainly don't know the answer to solving the problem, but I do have a few suggestions. This problem is so large and runs so deep, that relying upon an alderman and the police is not going to be enough. As concerned community members, there are small things each can do to help prevent more young people from falling into these traps.

    Most of the schools these young people attend are under-funded and understaffed when you consider the severe needs of the children enrolled. Most of the students I have who are into gangs also struggle academically. What if they were successful in school? Would they have more options in life besides resorting to the gang/street life? Maybe.

    I have seen corporations with volunteer programs that send their employees into local schools to assist in the classroom with struggling students who are falling behind. Maybe you could start a similar program in your workplace. Another adult in a room of 30 young children with 1 teacher could do wonders. I suspect that there are a few people posting on this message board that could tutor a struggling reader, or teach a first grader to subtract.

    I have seen parents organize fund-raisers in schools to raise money for Teaching Assistants in classrooms since the school board could not fund such a position. You might be thinking "Why should I put so much time into the school in my neighborhood when there's no way I would send my child there?" Well, maybe if there was more parent/community support, it might be a school you would like to send your child. Or, maybe there would be fewer gang signs spray painted in the neighborhood if young people were better educated and had more options.

    Maybe these young people could grow up ready for employment if we could support them more in their education. My students always talk about "the check" that comes once a month. When I ask them about this, they don't know where it comes from. They don't know that this check is public assistance and that it comes from you and me. We may benefit financially if we could better prepare/educate our young people.

    I know it seems that schools should be doing this, but we are up against some tough stuff during the school day. All the shootings and gang initiation that you are writing about on this message board are what these young people bring with them to school the next day. I've had a student tell me on a Monday that he had a gun in his face on Saturday. We are trying in the schools, but we're competing with some heavy stuff that happens in the community. This is why I'm encouraging the community to take action.

    One thing about gang recruitment I have noticed in the schools is that we as law-abiding citizens look for the same character qualities that gangs look for. I have seen some of the neatest, strongest, leaders that any teacher would love to have in class turn to gangs. The same qualities we look for in our community and political leaders are what the gangs want as well. What if there was something more we could do the get these strong leadership qualities to work FOR the community instead of against?

    Maybe we could save a few young futures-and the exterior of Staples-if our young people in the community could get home from school without the harassment of gangs looking to recruit. Some postings have identified the common factor of high gang activity in low-income housing areas and certain city locations based upon alleys, get-away routes, etc. Maybe some community groups could simply be present to discourage the harassment of non-affiliated young people on their way home from school. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, seeking out other community groups such as Safe Passages, Cease Fire, etc. might be options. Last I had heard state funding for Cease Fire was cut last year, severely limiting their scope of services. Maybe this could be an area you could help in increasing funding for programs that work to keep our communities safe. You feel it is not fair you have these troubles in your community, but it is also not fair that some well-intending children can't get home safely without being pressured to join gangs. I have yet to meet a child who is excited about being shot, or shooting someone else. Kids usually don't want to get into gangs. They tend to live in unsafe communities where the rule is "kill or be killed" so they join a group that they hope will offer protection, though once they find out this is not the case it's too late-they're already in.

    My final observation on this issue is the family unit that many of these young people have. I too often see single mothers raising children on their own who are balancing the tasks of parenting, getting their education, trying to work, and everything else that goes along with motherhood. When one person is spread too thin, this can create a situation where children raise themselves. It is not uncommon that single mothers in low-income situations began having children in their early teens. At this point they are not fully mature emotionally and financially to be able to provide the stability that children need at all ages.

    Maybe volunteering as a Big Brother/Big Sister, or other mentoring program could provide more adult influence for some of these young people who lack such guidance. Choosing political leaders in our country who realize the reality of the sexual activity that our children are getting involved in at young ages, and who are interested in teaching prevention instead of abstinence could help. I had a freshman enter my classroom pregnant this year as a 13 year-old. If we think that a 13-year is ready to parent alone effectively, we are probably mistaken. If we think that a 13 year-old is not having sex, we are probably mistaken. Maybe sex education is a parent's job, but not everyone with children is ready to be a parent, so maybe our community could step in and assist.

    It certainly is not the community's obligation to assist with such problems, but if we aren't happy with the results of such situations there are things we can do. Sure, we could rely on gentrification to push these troubles out of OUR sight and minds, but they will still exist in another part of our city.

    In recognition of the International Day of Peace, I have shared my limited perspective on this issue. I'll continue this discussion on what we can do as individuals in our community/city/country/world tomorrow with my students. Thanks for taking the time to consider these issues, and the people that are affected by them, with respect.

  24. Thanks, Stacie. I'm delighted that you're a teacher.

    The problem is indeed complex and you are right. The community is frustrated. Many residents feel so alienated from their alderman that most of us have come to the conclusion that our efforts must now be focused on getting her out of here first.

    I think once she's gone and a new alderman starts encouraging school administrations, social services, and businesses to be better neighbors to the community, we may end up having residents who will become more interested in volunteering to help out some of the students. As it stands now, the very places that need our help have alienated the community and pointed fingers at them as the problem. Aldermen in all other wards typically want people to work together to address the problems it faces. This is one ward where division is sought and it's done so to help maintain power.

    Until Helen is out, we're tossing pebbles in a river to make the water rise. Someday I hope to go back to volunteering for students again. Until then, anything to get "her" out. Sad to say, but that's probably the quickest and most effective solution to obtaining peace in this neighborhood.