Monday, April 21, 2008

It's The Wild West Out There Tonight

Folks, it's as bad as we can ever remember out there tonight. The Uptown Crime Blotter couldn't even keep up with the reports of shots fired. Check back with the Blotter to see what's happened, but as far as we can tell, there were five different shootings, as well as several beatings.

An Uptown Update reader tells us:

"At about 10:15 PM today, about 5 shots were fired on the 900 block of W. Sunnyside Ave. Cops were here in less than a minute. I'm sure they've been sticking around lately because there've been so many shootings. I heard the cops say something about a description of a man in a "red shirt" and I think he said red pants or black pants. Vice Lords were my first thought. There are cops on my corner."

These gangs are seriously out of control. Stay safe.

We encourage all readers to go to your CAPS meetings to see what can be done to stop this violence. It's our home, not gangland "turf." Write or call the Alderman's office and demand to know what steps she's taking to alleviate the violence and make it safe for families and residents to enjoy the summer without the hail of bullets.


  1. I'm sure the trolls will be here soon to put snarky comments on this blog, but I have to ask: what the f-ing is going on in this neighborhood? I've lived here 8 years and this is worse than anything I can remember. When is someone going to care about the war going on between the gangs? When will Daley or the Alderman speak up? I take nothing away from the trouble happening elsewhere in the city with kids being shot, but why do they get daily news stories but our neighborhood is put on the back page (if that) of the newspaper?

    I spent some time looking at I was quite surprised to see how large the presence is in our neighborhood versus the rest of the northside. We are pretty much ground zero for the gangs on the North side.

  2. A child or innocent bystander will need to be hurt or killed. Then the Alderman and the Mayor will give some crap reason for why they weren't paying attention before but none of it will have to do with the fact that this community is being divided for political reasons & dissenters are being silenced and that is part of the reason why things have gotten so bad.

  3. On the south and west sides of the city, the churches and schools are among the first to galvanize an action plan to stop the violence. Uptown Baptist Church will occasionally step in. St. Thomas, which is in the middle of it, has never done anything. A couple of years ago, Our Lady of the Lake made things worse with the U-Haul problem when the pastor denounced the community's efforts to address the loitering. Uplift had a pretend CAPS rally right before the last election. I sure would like to see all these groups at least send representatives to their CAPS meetings.

    I know people from these places read this blog. If they aren't part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

  4. the police citywide have stopped "proactively policing."

    What does this mean? How have police practices changed, and why?

    It means that the police are no longer aggressive, they answer their radio and write paper. They aren't doing anything to stop potential violence. They are reacting to violence. Ask your CAPS coordinator why recovered guns are way down and aggravated batteries are way up. And the gangbangers are very aware of this new trend in policing. When gangs aren't afraid of the police, they surely aren't going to be afraid of the private citizen.

  5. Also, ask your CAPS coordinator why the 023/020 District Tac and Gang Teams are detailed to the ghetto for the summer. Isn't our neighborhood worth protecting? I know I pay my fair share of property taxes.

  6. I've lived in Uptown for over 12 years. While it was more rundown 12 years ago, there were not nearly the amount of shootings.
    While we try and rebuild our community no one will come with the crime stats we are racking up this year. The gangs must be dealt with. I have heard nothing from Helen's office. This should be her priority. People are dying in the streets in large numbers. Probably some of her suporters too. The people who want to run the streets of our neighborhood

  7. Maybe Uptown needs to open a Complimentary Bullet Proof Vest station for the summer.

  8. "They aren't doing anything to stop potential violence."

    Thanks for answering my question. I am not in law enforcement but I would think that proactive measures are probably some of the best tools that the police have. But, you didn't answer my question about why the approach has changed. Some neighborhoods with gang problems don't want to work with the police. I think many people in Uptown are eager and willing and will desire to make sure that the best police work is being done. Why has the approach shifted?

  9. For those who are saying that the shootings around here have never been worse - since the news doesn't cover these shootings in Uptown, did you guys have an forum 8-12 years ago such as Uptown Update, Uptown Crime Blotter, or another source to keep you updated multiple times a day on the crimes going on? I'm wondering if it's possible that we are now just hearing about shootings more now than you did years ago?

    just wondering.

  10. I have wondered the same thing, koocachoo72. However, I have always gotten emails from my block club and often gotten things emailed to our club from nearby clubs.

    We have had 2 armed robberies on my street in the last 8 months when there was never one before in the previous 8 years. There was also that attempted robbery on Marine a month back and Weiss Plaza now has a security guard.

    Before I even started visiting Uptown Update we had 2 drug dealers operating out of our street (now gone, thank god) but the ownership of the nearest section 8 building turned over, their security cameras went away and new drug dealers moved in. It is all anecdotal but to me it seems as if the patterns are shifting and the gun violence---especially in the middle of the day---is very new.

  11. I live on Agatite. At about 10:45 I heard a car drive by and throw something that sounded very much like a gun skipping on pavement and then speed off. I called it in and went out to help the cops look for it under and around cars to no avail. The sergeant I spoke to told me that they appreciate calls like that. As a community, we need to persistantly call in anything and everything we see. For example, the increased number of scumbag gangbangers in red/black clothing standing on corners (esp. Sunnyside and Hazel)has drastically increased in recent weeks. Call it in and complain of "gang loitering" or "mob action" in the streets. If you don't see the police show up, continue to call.

  12. "How have police practices changed, and why?"

    Dunno so much about the "how" but the "why" part ...?

    Do the names Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, or the National Action Network ring a bell?

  13. I would call the alderman’s office and demand that she attend the caps meeting. I would stand up at the beginning of the meeting and openly ask who from the alderman’s office is present and what she and the commander of the 23rd have put into place since the violence surged this spring. Then I would ask what they are doing to reduce response time to 911 calls and how many arrests have been made regarding the shootings. Just an idea put that is what I would do. I live in the beat south of these events and my caps meeting will not discuss them. The alderman’s office has not attended are meetings since Feb 07, although the office reports that someone was there sitting in the back, or came late or was to shy to speak up. Whatever, the neighbors mostly know each other and no one has attended, if there was shooting on my street I would be stopping by the 46th office the day of the meeting and demand that someone attend to support/problem solve with the neighborhood.

  14. The number of sirens I heard last night was insane. There was a similar summer a few years ago.

    This is my home. It's not someone's "turf." As many have said, the tide has turned here. It's our job to work with the police and get the gang situation under control.

    I'm sure we've all seen aldermen on the South and West Sides marching with their constituents to stop gang violence. That doesn't happen here. Helen ignores the gangs ("Not in Uptown!")

    The good news is, this is the most activist community I've ever lived in. Most people want the gangs out. The cops want the gangs out. It's up to us to attend CAPS, do positive loitering, call 911, etc., etc.

    WE need to take back OUR community.

  15. But we have the second lowest district crime rate per the "New Commander" Post a few blog posts back. And Daley came out to Joan Arai school and stood next to Helen and said the exact same thing during the last reelection campaign.

    The 23rd District Crime Displacement strategy works really well for those in 90% of the district who have had their crime displaced into Uptown.

    They aren't bitching that the police have, by their own pratices, purposely concentrated the prostitution, batteries, street robberies, gang activity and shootings into your small geographic area in Uptown. They like it that way.

    So just suck it up and consider it your duty to the rest of Chicago, you gentrifying yuppies. And, if you don't like it move to Lincoln Park, says Alderman Shiller.

  16. Also, ask your CAPS coordinator why the Desk Sergaents refer weekend complaints to the Neighborhood Relations Officers when they know damned well the Neighborhood Relations offices are closed every weekend through the summer because those officers are detailed to Grant Park and parades routes for the summer. Isn't our neighborhood worth protecting? I know I pay my fair share of property taxes.

  17. The "Why?" The mayor wants a softer and more gentle police force. That approach might work in Barrington and Orland Park, but it doesn't work well in the urban jungle.

  18. A recipe for crime.

    Mix a lot of different gangs, Black P-Stone Rangers, Crips, Vice-Lords.

    Make sure the streets are dark. No active commercial streets.
    No bright pedestrian residential lighting like the south end of the 46 ward.

    Add lots of deadly gangs can run through places like Truman parking, Aldi's dead frontage, Weiss hospital's wall, and Sunnyside mall.

    Add 6,000 government subsidized housing units for 35% of Uptown's housing stock.

    Heat up the neighborhood with bored, have no life gang members angry and ready to fight for their territory.

    Fold in an alderman who's mantra is, "Stop picking on the poor people. If you don't like it here, move somewhere else."

    Let it rise until it self distructs

  19. While a silent Alderman like Shiller is definitely part of the blame, what about the parents of these kids?

    I mean some of these gangbangers are probably older, but most of them I see are just teenagers. When I was their age I was inside doing homework, going to practice, etc. Doing something constructive. And we weren't exactly an affluent family with all kinds of priviliges. But I had a good example from my parents. My father worked 2 jobs and put himself through college. I learned a little something about hard work, and not expecting handouts.

    We all have so much disdain for the alderman that we forget she can't babysit all these kids for the parents. I think that the parents should be charged with a crime if their kid is arrested for gangbanging.

  20. Time for the socialist Helen Schiller to go. Recall Schiller.

  21. I don't understand how you people can say that the powers that be aren't doing anything to help lower crime. They got those horrible ads removed from city buses!

  22. You're right, pablo. Parents should definitely be held accountable.

    And Shiller does take a shade more blame than maybe she deserves, directly; however, the fact that youth violence is so prominent in her ward does serve as an indicator that the social programs she loves to flood into her ward aren't effective.

    These parents need help, and Shiller says she offers that help.

    She doesn't.

    That, and the fact the she continually does nothing to propagate a vibrant community that could offer kids an alternative to gang banging doesn't bode well for her, either.

    She does the exact opposite.

    In the end, the buck does stop with her. It's just a shame that she puts that buck in her purse, and not back into the community.

  23. For those who are saying that the shootings around here have never been worse - since the news doesn't cover these shootings in Uptown, did you guys have an forum 8-12 years ago such as Uptown Update, Uptown Crime Blotter, or another source to keep you updated multiple times a day on the crimes going on? I'm wondering if it's possible that we are now just hearing about shootings more now than you did years ago?

    I have had a police scanner for many years. Trust me. The gun violence is much worse today than it was 10 years ago

  24. I hate to say it 9:11 but you are right. Shiller, Jesus People, ONE, etc have fought to be the leaders of this community but all they have accomplished is keeping many people in subsistence-level poverty.

    While I applaud what some of these groups have done in providing something in a city that was too slow on the uptake when it came to homelessness, joblessness, poverty, drug abuse, gangs, HIV/AIDS and mental illness, the issues clearly are beyond their level of expertise. I'll grant that their heart was/is in the right place but when they started power grabbing and closing inward rather than continuing to reach out they sealed the fate of this neighborhood.

    They spend so much time kicking local residents in the teeth for wanting things like strong retail districts, increased safety, and good public schools because these things (in their minds) represent bourgeois concerns and if you give in to them you are giving ground to gentrifiers. In their hatred, no one ever bothered to consider that some residents might want to own their own homes here but also have their own issues with gentrification.

    There are no shades of gray with these guys. Remember, "Slim" Coleman (Shiller's mentor) claimed that as long as they could keep putting in subsidized housing along the lakefront then the developers wouldn't be able to just build highrise after expensive highrise here.

    People need to wake up to the fact that effort is going into keeping things a certain way so that the environment is not "hospitable" to gentrifiers. Unfortunately, it is very likely that more young kids' futures will either be ruined by getting involved with the gangs and more bystanders may be killed. In case some of you don't know, people are not "aging out" of gangs anymore. The pattern is often prison or death.

    For the goodness of everyone, we need to get some leaders who are able to approach these issues with something more than lame a** ideology.

    (BTW, this was written by someone who is a widely read leftist. Shiller has an ideology all right but it is some incoherent polyglot of Sh**. She has her own reality. for sure.)

  25. I know I've said this before but, is there an impeachment process for aldermen???

  26. Talk to Emil Jones about recalls.

  27. What is the block club for this area? Is it holding regular meetings? When is the next meeting?

  28. The reason we are not doing proactive police work right now is simple. There is an external AND internal witch-hunt going on right now against the police. The mayor and our new sup want so badly to crucify police to show that they are "rooting out corruption" that they are throwing cops under the bus for minor procedural errors and seeking indictments. I hate dirty cops more than a civilian, because they make me look bad, but that's not what they are focusing on because that would require real investigations. Instead, they are going after any easy target they can find. Until this passes, we will be doing as little as possible. And before someone makes some self-righteous "it's your job" comment, we hate this as much as you do, and I don't see too many people volunteering to do my job.

  29. How about a picket in front of the 23rd Commander's office demanding attention? (We know Helen doesn't care, but maybe we can let the new commander know we want better action.)

  30. uptown blue, thank you for your honesty and thank you for the service you do for all of us. Stay safe this summer!

  31. The whole police department moral is very low and it didn't help Mayor picking an outsider to run it.

    Plus they are afraid now if they are proactive they will face the reprecussions for it.

    by Uptown Troll

  32. Cheers to you, Uptown Blue!

  33. As your caps facilitator for 2311, I will say a few things

    Yes, the gangs are fighting. YES, it is bad this year. Even the police are telling me its awful this year. YES IT IS BAD. BE CAREFUL THEY SAID TO ME.


    A few things you can do...

    1) CALL 911 more. You want more police presence? Call 911. This is a HUGE city. The number of 911 calls is how they determine how many police we get to patrol our areas. Guess what. We do NOT have enough people calling 911. We need proactive 911 calls. You see something suspicious. Call 911. i can't believe the number of people that don't do this on a regular basis in uptown. We all need to be. You all know there is shady stuff going on everywhere in this town all the time. People come to my caps meeting all the time and say they have never called 911 but see this and that and this is going on. Well the first step is the easiest. CALL 911. (Oh, and if you have a problem with them the first time..who cares! yes! people complain about the system. Call back! I can't tell you why some people have problems when they call 911. I don't have the answer. CALL BACK if you aren't happy with the service. it's your tax dollars. use it.

    2) VOLUNTEER to help. Don't post and say "ask the caps facilitator this and that" . Guess what. I DONT KNOW THE ANSWERS! And, frankly neither do the police know all the answers. They are doing their best, but they need US TO HELP.

    Yesterday I put a post up asking for volunteers to help with caps projects. Guess how many I got...even with all these shootings and all this posting on the message board. ONE. i had ONE PERSON volunteer. If you are just posting and complaining on this board and not helping like some of us..well then this neighborhood is going to be the same.

    Join your block club, organize an event yourself! , THINK OF SOMETHING that you think will work to help fix the community and organize it yourself. OR, come to me or your caps facilitator or whoever to get help doing so ..don't ASK us to do it. YOU do it and ask for us to guide you. OR, If you don't have a project in mind, come to me and I can give you one!

    caps beat 2311 facilitator
    (sheridan park)

  34. I'm not calling anyone or any group out, but who should be organizing some sort of demonstration or rally? UNC? The local churches? The block clubs? One of these groups need to take the lead, becuase someone suggesting a rally on a blog is not going to do it. It needs to be organized, and it needs to be far reaching.

  35. Thanks for your honesty, Uptown Blue. Is there a way that we can help you get a Tribune or Sun-Times story on this? Obviously no one will come out publicly to say these things but is there a way we can get it in the papers without getting names in the papers too?

    We want you to be safe so that we can be safe. We're always looking for a sacrificial lamb so that the entrenched can stay entrenched. God forbid we actually deal with problems and root out real corruption in the police or in city government. Time for change!

  36. I just email ABC 7 asking them to do a story. It was that simple. I am sure if they get more emails like that they mind find some interest.

  37. How about O.N.E., ha ha.

    Do we have any reps from UNC or UCC on this board? Uptown United? I think a "Summer Safety" action, rally, coordinated effort...whatever would have broad appeal. The block clubs across the 46th and 48th wards could carry out various measures such as phone trees like Jami has suggested.

    Let's get going!

  38. I work within the area, but live within a different area with similar problem. I am usually on the phone calling 911 to report any activity I feel is suspicious weather this activity in my area or within a different area. People are scarred to contact the police because of the thought that the police will disclose where the source of a given complaint came from. These are our streets where we should have the right to walk down them without the thought of being scarred by getting caught in a cross fire or gang war. Lets make a stand and do something about it.

  39. Let's start by not being scared to call 911. I don't get it. Why is it so hard to explain how to place a call to 911 and ask to remain anonymous? What is the fear?

  40. As soon as we get a date finalized for the "meet and greet" at the Sunnyside mall (see uptown crime blotter), I plan on posting the information in my building... Everyone should do the same to encourage those who are not on these message boards come. We need to know eachother, and we need to be seen.

  41. Thank you brittney! I am in complete agreement with you. We all need to get the word out and get people to any positive loitering events!

  42. Hey Uptown Blue

    You guys rock. Been here a long time and I know you guys are out there doing your best. I see it every day. Keep the faith and know we support your efforts. An hour listening to the scanner has me in fear for my life as well as yours.

  43. Safety starts with the block clubs and CAPs. If you are not a member of your block club, both Uptown Update and have the block clubs listed.

    Contact your block club and request a Safe Summer meeting be held asap.

    UNC can share information and help get the word out to the more than 1500 members.

    Jami is right on. Get involved and do your part to make Uptown a safe place to live. Those of us who volunteer do our part. Now you do yours.

  44. I live near Billy Broncho park on Magnolia. What block club covers this area?

  45. We need to start contacting the police every time we see one or two suspicious gangbangers together. Lets get the word out that they can not loiter around on our streets.

  46. I agree with Pablo..... Where are the parents? I watched a 5, maybe 6 year old little boy run in front of my bus yesterday. Alone. At 6pm in the evening. The bus driver, whose reaction time I commended, even commented. Where are these parents? How can we possibly expect that these kids will grow up and out of these conditions if we have 5 year olds running around the streets alone? I know there are circumstances. Parents have to work, etc. But come on, he was a baby. Its crazy what I see around here. If Schiller's methods were once rooted in a desire to do good by her community, she needs to take a walk around between the hours of 3 and 6 and see what's going on in her streets. How long has she been alderman? How old are these kids? THESE ARE HER KIDS! SHE DID THIS TO THEM! She complains about us, the homeowners, the white people, blah, blah, blah. She created the monster that is before her during her reign as queen of this neighborhood. How's she going to fix all that has gone wrong in her tenure?

  47. Graceland Wilson Neighbors Association boundaries are Montrose to Wilson, Broadway to Beacon.

  48. in response to--
    We need to start contacting the police every time we see one or two suspicious gangbangers together. Lets get the word out that they can not loiter around on our streets.--

    How do we know which people loitering are the gangbangers?

    I'm not being sarcastic here but being serious....I'm not sure it is realistic to think you can call the police everytime you see people milling about in the mall or on the street, seems like it might end up being crying wolf an awful lot, no?

  49. As a member of a street gang here in Uptown, I find the comments posted so far the mark. Gang members such as myself always get a bad reputation. Not everyone can be accountants in condos. We make our living with crime and terror. Who are all you to judge? Have some respect for others, even those you do not understand. Oh, and watch your back - I'm going to get you suckas!

  50. Sorry then lets cry wolf and as many times as it takes. The message needs to get across that the residents of Uptown has had it and will no longer accept our streets to be utilized for gang activity. And Pablo I also agree with you, where are the parents in all of this mess. If I had child that is at the age to be out on their own I know damn well that I will have a tighter grip on them to avoid them getting hurt or getting mixed up with what is already out there. But then again these are the parents who rent is getting paid by their gang banging, drug dealing children.

  51. Is the uptown street gang member post for real? Not all of us are accountants living in condos. Some of us are renting families who moved to uptown for affordable housing and a place to raise our children. So, you don't judge. Of course gang members are going to get a bad reputation, you said yourself that you have to make your living through crime and terror. I seriously hope that post was a joke.

  52. Unfortunately there are people who think they're very funny posting ignorance like this. Is serves no purpose other than to distract us from what we should focus on, safe neighborhoods.

    Did anyone see the S-T article today that shows someone was murdered at 1000 W. Sunnyside on Friday night? Who was this person?
    Gang related? This is the first I've heard about it.

  53. sorry if this is a stupid question, but exactly what are we looking for to identify gang members? Is it the guys with the long white shirts? I read a post that said something about them wearing red/black. I'm usually out and about in the morning and early afternoon, so I don't see too much going on, but I'd like to know what I'm looking for.

  54. There is a serious need for some leadership on this issue and a recognition from "the powers" that crime and violence are an issue in Uptown. Nobody wants to see people hurt or killed. Stop ignoring it and pretending that it doesn't exist. It does. Now is the time to help the community develop a responsible solution to gangs and violence.

    For better or worse, you are our community leaders. Show some leadership or you never know what you are gonna get.

  55. Heal this community and make it safe for everyone to live and love here.

  56. Oh that 6:34 p.m. comment was racially offensive and intentionally intended to be so. Let's not play the race baiting troll game on this blog.

    How to Spot a Gangbanger 101.

    Note the colors in the clothes that they are wear, the direction they tips their hats, stuff hanging out of their pockets. Watch guys stand on Lawrence behind the Uptown Theatre, who flash hand signals at oncoming cars.. Listen when the police roll down the street for people to give warnings, such as saying "Lights out" to others over at Sheridan and Windsor.

    See who is carrying the gun. Why are they wearing a coat in summer? ‘Why is that coat unzipped on a frigid day? Why does one side of that coat hang down and swing when they walk? Why is that right hand continuously placed in a right pocket or up on the waistband under a shirt?

    See who has the scale. He’s sitting in the restaurant or down the street making the big deals that need to be weighed out. The runners with the dime bags hang in groups of 4-5 and are the busy running back and forth to the parade of strangers and then to the bigger stash hidden on the street. They get a lot of cell phone calls and they run away and come back to the same spot a lot.

    Sit in the front booth of Uptown BBQ or in your car at Dunkin Donuts or across from McDonalds this summer and you can master your gang, gun and drug spotting skills.

  57. The alderman's office rep states that they support the police in every way they can, but that this crime is a policing issue and not something that can be addressed from an executive office.

  58. So then it is "hands off"? I hardly believe that coming from someone who thinks that CAPS is a racist organization. Residents have had enough of the violence and don't want blood on their hands when someone is hurt or killed this summer. I just don't believe that she will stand by as people demand more actions against the gangs. She will be on the lookout for police brutality and unequal treatment. And although I really support any efforts of law-abiding local residents to reclaim their streets, there is a small chance that these efforts will result in unfairly attacking innocent black youths. Shiller has got to know this. That is why she should be engaged in creating productive discussions and workable solutions. I am so disheartened by what is happening in Uptown and HELEN SHILLER is at the root of much of the divisions and problems.

    Step up and be a leader, Helen. Stop hiding in the shadows. Heal this community because after 20+ years, Uptown is your legacy.

  59. She chooses to say that this is a police issue and not her issues. "I know this is true because I got an email from one of her reps stating that last summer". How can she on one hand take credit for the lower crime but when crime happens state that it is a police issue and not her issue to deal with? Amazing!!

    From last Summer
    Thank you for your email.

    As you mentioned, this is a matter for the police. However, our Chief of Staff, Denice Davis, has been walking through the ward letting the homeless people know what is happening. She hopes that to get them to stay aware and hopefully even to take shelter. If you have specific questions, you may contact the neighborhood liaison of your police district. If you would like to send me your address, I would be happy to send you that telephone number.

  60. Funny, about that. She had multiple meetings with the 23rd Police District, the Center on Halsted and Horizons to address the "crime problem" of local youths that wanted to participate, but were not welcome to participate, in Horizon's programs because they were considered disruptive, at the Center on Halsted.

    She was willing to step up to push disruptive kids out of that area of the district.

  61. Anon 10:35 let me save you the trouble.

    The 23rd Police District Neighborhood Relations number, which is publically available from 311 and the website is 312-744-4247.

  62. I can just visualize Sha-na-na, alias Shiller Chief of Staff Denise Davis, strutting her stuff as walked among the homeless.

    Like that would ever happen. It might endanger her latest hair extentions and fake nails.

  63. Tuesday night, 11:25 PM ...shots fired at Hazel & Sunnyside.... I heard them. Slow down was issued 10 minutes later. Obviously nobody was caught from what I heard.
    It truely is a war zone out there. Better cancel any plans we have for summer walks around here.

  64. If you would like to send me your address, I would be happy to send you that telephone number.

    What was that about?

  65. anyone else care to try to tell us what we are looking for to identify gang members?

  66. Did not hear the gunshots on Sunnyside last night, but was out on Agatite with the dogs on Monday night when the shooting occured. The 800 and 900 blocks of Sunnyside are definitely a concern. What are the problem buildings on those blocks? I'm assuming the highrise on Sunnyside, and then the neighbors over at 4520 Clarendon?

  67. Did not hear the gunshots on Sunnyside last night, but was out on Agatite with the dogs on Monday night when the shooting occured. The 800 and 900 blocks of Sunnyside are definitely a concern. What are the problem buildings on those blocks? I'm assuming the highrise on Sunnyside, and then the neighbors over at 4520 Clarendon?

    I think you have the wrong address on Clarendon. I am in that 9 story building and we pretty much have families and younger married people. You might be referring to 4600 Clarendon which is a much larger highrise.

  68. yes, sorry for that. I am referring to the two High rises on Clarendon. Did not mean to point out the wrong building. My apologies.

  69. I don't seem to have much of a problem with the high rise on Clarendon. They have security guards and from appearances, higher standards than some of the other low income housing in the area.

    I think too many of you are under the impression that all these gangbangers are from our neighborhood. We have been told at several of our CAPS meetings that a lot of the gangbangers are actually from other parts of the city, but come up here to sell drugs because all the social service agencies have a lot of people that want their "product".
    Also if they are new to the area, it's harder for the police to recognize them as potential offenders.

    Obviously, a lot are from the hood, but not all.

  70. I may not know how all this works, but if people are coming to our neighborhood to sell their products, then the reason there are shootings, violence, etc. is that they are encoraching on another's turf, correct? So, with multiple shootings taking place on Sunnyside this week, there are obviously some buildings housing gang members who are "protecting" their area from others who are trying to get in on a piece of the action. I was just curious as to which buildings those might be.

  71. The bangers from other areas are affiliated with one of the Uptown gangs. At the end of the day there's only 2 true factions - People and Folks. Each gang is either one or the other According to the gang maps I have seen, the east side of Uptown is heavily Conservative Vice Lords (People) and the west side Gangster Disciples (Folks), and they are fighting over turf.

  72. This CAN be addressed long term by Shiller... get control of the low income housing and you can get rid of the gang bangers. They don't live in the condos, they live in the cheap slums scattered through the area. Building a Cabrini-Green at WY will only increase the problems. It would be nice if landlords would evict tenants or just not rent to people that had criminal records.

    How to recognize gang members, people hanging out in the parks/mall (without a child/pet) in the middle of the day are gang members! People standing in the alleys at night are gang members! People standing on the streets for more then 30 minutes without going anywhere are gang members! Basically if you see 2 guys standing around just "hanging out" then they are gang members. How can I say this? I don't mean to sound racist/elitist but it basically comes down to this - would you hang out on our streets/alleys for that long unless you were up to something.

  73. I don't seem to have much of a problem with the high rise on Clarendon. They have security guards and from appearances, higher standards than some of the other low income housing in the area.

    Pablo.. I agree that the Towers at Clarendon and Wilson are better kept than most. While they have a security guard on the inside of the building, That has nothing to do with habits of the thousand or so people that live in the buildings. Seeing as I look out on that building everyday, I would say having a large highrise like that one, with a park across the street lends to very large groups loitering on the corners of Windsor as well as in the park. Many senior citizens sit in that park. A woman was shot in the leg in that park last summer.

  74. It would be nice if landlords would evict tenants or just not rent to people that had criminal records.

    The above comment is a bit rough. I got busted for pot 15 years ago. I've worked for 30 years and bring home a little over $70,000 a year. would you deny me housing based on 1 mistake?? I don't think you can set up a standard like that.

  75. No, but I would deny you housing if you were selling crack a month ago. We have problems with active drug dealers living in housing here and it causes a mess for everyone, including their neighbors.

    There has to be some middle ground. Comments are made and the extreme is taken.

  76. to add on to 8:29 - if some of my tax dollars are being used to help provide you housing at a lower rate, then I have every right to expect that you are going to be a law abiding citizen. I could be mistaken, but don't section 8 applicants have to go through a criminal background check, or is that step in the application process ignored in Uptown?

  77. It is ignored in Uptown. One of the reasons why mixed-income developments work well is that there are tougher screening measures in place. Uptown has no mixed-income developments and part of the reason for that is that Helen has always been opposed to drug screening.

    She has said before that she would only agree to drug screening if people buying homes had to also go through drug screening.

  78. Regarding CHA and criminal histories: We were told at the last CAPS meeting that apparently, starting this year, new tenants cannot have any criminal history. In the past, it has been 'no criminal history for the last 2 years'. So hopefully things will improve.

    However, the screening is not retroactive and there is a huge waiting list of people in the 'none-for-2-y' category.

    Also, although in theory they are not supposed to have other people staying with them, it is possible that some people might harbor relatives who are felons, and are not called on it.

    Also, some of the organizations that run the buildings have limited means and it costs ~10K to do an eviction.

    Finally, there is a move to trying to coordinate communication between management companies so that evicted tenants can't just move to another building that does not know their history.

    Most tenants are law-abiding people of limited incomes, but all it takes is a few bad ones to totally screw up a building.

  79. That is true, 9:05. I was at a gathering of people who live in a subsidized building in the area. All they were talking about was how the management company had changed, the security guard was corrupt, the cameras were taken down and the drug dealers were back.

    I know an elderly woman who was raped in a low-income senior building by a building "visitor" and a few years back an SRO was rocked when someone climbed into one of the first floor rooms and murdered a resident. Obviously, both true stories and rumors spread like wildfire and law-abiding poor people are scared.

    We can't just ignore the violence that exists in our community because talking about it is "polarizing." I'd say that Shiller and her helpers don't want to talk about it because it could make the polarization of the ward shift in a different direction than how they have polarized the ward.

    Shiller is sounding more and more like George Bush/Karl Rove every day. Healthy communities have to talk about these things in order to develop solutions that will work for everyone.

  80. "Shiller is sounding more and more like George Bush/Karl Rove every day"

    Or maybe she sounds a hell of a lot like Dick Durbin?!

    Seriously ... Shiller's been an elected lying piece of crap much longer than Bush.

    I would think that Bush/Rove would be sounding like her.

    Regardless ... you comment was great until you had to go all moonbat at the end.

  81. Moonbat? I like that. I may post under that name in the future :)

    So skip over the Bushie part, I don't care. Just don't disregard my last sentence: "Healthy communities have to talk about these things in order to develop solutions that will work for everyone."

  82. Not only did I not disregard your last sentence, I commended it.

    You're dead on.

    The anti-Bush stuff is just a bit tired, that's all.

    Much love ;)

  83. Well, the last thing I want to be is cliche.


    Now, we'd better stop this or get a room because I think Helen Shiller will melt (a la the wicked witch of the west)if political discourse in Uptown somehow ended up in hugs.

  84. Saskia, the Mayor is proposing eliminating the CHA and Scattered Site tenant councils to encourage those tenants to solve their problems by integrating more into the community. (Or so he says.) The tenant councils require funding that HUD and the city no longer wish to allocate for this purpose.

    Is this a good or bad thing?

  85. I was greeted this morning with a message to me. I guess that means that I do spend too much time on this board!! :)

    I have only been following that story in passing but I will read up. Maybe there will be an aspect of it that will pertain more directly to Uptown and I could pass something along to UU. My gut reaction, though, is that the tenants' councils perform a very important function and that funding them is what allows them to stay active and vocal throughout change in both the buildings and at the CHA level. If they didn't exist, it would be harder for residents to communicate with each other and have a sense of what is going on in the larger system. Eliminating them might be an effort to squash dissent, but I don't know if it is fair for me to say that about the Mayor or CHA management at this point. There might be more to the story that I haven't considered.

  86. Anonymous 9:22: I haven't been able to find any quotes from the Mayor where he says anything about wanting to eliminate funds for the tenants councils. Can you direct me to something?

  87. I read the March 7, 2008 Chicago Tribune article entitled, "CHA may eliminate some tenant councils; Plan would have agency ombudsman aiding residents at mixed-income sites".

    The link to that article is publically available on Knowlegeplex:

  88. Thank you for directing me to the Trib story. I checked out Knowledgeplex and they seem interesting too.

    So I assume that CHA decided against eliminating the tenants' councils at the meeting but that the idea is still floating around? If so, I agree with Mary Wiggins when she said the measure is premature. Maybe a new organizational model will be appropriate at a later date but we are not there yet.

    If any of the conversations on this blog reveal anything, it is that there is often a breakdown in productive communication between subsidized housing residents and the wider mixed-income communities in which they live. Something needs to fill that organizational void whether it be political leadership, better integration of the scattered site buildings into the block clubs, a more active role from some non-profits or religious organizations...I don't know. Who or what is currently filling that organizational void in Uptown?

  89. I can see that many of you are eager to clean up the neighborhood and move towards a happier, healthier environment. I also gather that many of you believe Helen Shiller is incapable of tending to the needs of all Uptown residents and is ultimately doing more harm than good. My question is, do we have an opposition leader? Somebody that we'd like to see in office instead of Helen... I think it's wonderful that many of us are on the same page for what we want for the community. And there are so many great ideas... What I think we need is somebody that can be in Helen's face, a spokesperson if you will. Perhaps there is someone in this role and I just didn't read about him/her yet?

  90. Rationalthinker: Ok Let's review this recent post...

    The "Why?" The mayor wants a softer and more gentle police force. That approach might work in Barrington and Orland Park, but it doesn't work well in the urban jungle)...

    This writer probably believes that intensifying efforts to rough up members of the homeless population in the hopes of finding trace amounts of illicit drugs will somehow reduce violent crime in Uptown. Get a clue! Our new Chicago police commander explained that the reason for the increase in the number of shootings in Chicago is "too many guns and drugs." No (you dumb, overpaid commander of a force that has one of the worst reputations in the world when it comes to ethical conduct), the reasons can be found in the philosophy behind a failed drug war. We can arrest and jail a million (opps, in fact we have in this country) "drug offenders." But it is guaranteed that we will have not reduced the amount of drugs in Chicago - or anywhere for that matter. Nor has this method of incarcerating an endless stream of individuals for illicit drug possession reduced the level of "gang violence" one bit. But I am predicting that our commander and many contributers to this blog will continue to talk tough when it comes to crime....but will ultimately make no
    progress in reducing violent crime until they take a different approach.
    But you will still find bloggers here on a near daily basis who have no idea how complex the issues of crime are in our society. Oh well.

  91. # Uptown Blue says: April 22, 2008 :

    "The reason we are not doing proactive police work right now is simple. There is an external AND internal witch-hunt going on right now against the police.
    The mayor and our new sup want so badly to crucify police to show that they are "rooting out corruption" that they are throwing cops under the bus for minor procedural errors and seeking indictments."
    Uptown Blue: What is your definition of "minor procedural errors?" I am very curious. There is a clear reason why police officers have such a bad reputation in this particular city. (And, that's true, it is not all cops who are bad. That would be completely unfair. There are many good cops.). But the reason has nothing to do with the arrests of "bad guys" (I sincerely hope you understand this point as well). It has everything to do with the issue of professionalism (or lack of) on the job! It has everything to do with human rights!
    "Bad" police officers are very OFTEN not reprimanded or prosecuted when they engage in criminal acts on the job. For example: Planting illicit drugs on an individual (regardless of their past record) is "criminal activity" the police officer.
    (I will be interested to see if you choose to dispute that this happens in Chicago).
    You write: "I hate dirty cops more than a civilian (you do?), because they make me look bad." How about mentioning the fact that dirty cops destroy lives and are rarely (please, let's be honest here) prosecuted.
    By the way, I have worked as a social worker in the Uptown community for the past 15 years.

    You further write: "But that's not what they are focusing on because that would require real investigations." I agree with you on this point. Thanks for listening.