Sunday, May 25, 2008

Violence And Where It Happens In Chicago

A reader writes in:
"Attached are two maps, each tells a different story - one shows the location of low-income housing by neighborhood, the other shows the violence over one weekend in April of this year (dubbed bloody weekend). When they are compared it is evident that the violence clusters around the neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of low-income housing. Unfortunately, Uptown with nearly 6000 units of low-income housing is one of those neighborhoods. Studies show it's not the low-income housing in itself but the concentrations that increase the likelihood that a neighborhood will experience more crime."
(map credit:Sun-Times)


  1. It follows common sense, but anyone publicly supporting this study will be labeled anti poor by the press and the likes of Helen Shiller. If you look at crime on Clear Map by census tract, it gives information about the amount of poverty in the census tracts. I'm betting there's a reason why someone felt the need to place this information there.

    I remember hearing one Shiller supporter saying that no one tracks the problems of a concentration of rich people in a neighborhood, and therefore anyone bringing this up must despise the poor.

  2. Actually, people do track the problems of a concentration of rich people in an area. It is just that violent crime is usually not the most important variable to study.

  3. Amen, anon 7:45!

  4. Don't you think the poor are equally disturbed by the crime problems? What makes this a rich vs poor issue. The issue is the poor government funded management of these properties.

  5. That is weirdo-land Uptown for you. In every other neighborhood in Chicago, poor people are allowed to say that they experience more violent crime than wealthier neighborhoods and it isn't right. Yet here people feel threatened when anyone says that there is crime. I don't understand it but it is like the feeling is "we have a right to this crime and you should have nothing to say about it because underneath we know you just think we are criminals and you hate us and you just want to kick us out of here." IMHO, Uptown Crime is like this dirty little secret that no one will acknowledge. Why no one here wants to talk about the fact that poor people are more likely to be a victim of a violent crime (in general but in Uptown too) I have no idea. Weirdo-land.

  6. Don't you think the poor are equally disturbed by the crime problems? What makes this a rich vs poor issue.

    So many fallacies in this argument; it's hard to know where to begin. No one said the poor are disturbed by issues of crime. No one makes it a rich vs poor issue.

    The issue is that when we create pockets of concentrated poverty, everyone suffers and most especially the poor.

    My real question to anon 11:57 is why are you making this a class war when it's not?

  7. ooohhh evil yuppies saying that shooting people is bad. what other horrendous and hateful things will these evil yuppies come up with next?

  8. I understand that studies show problems at both end of the spectrum - rich and poor. What every community should be striving for is a mix. A mix ideally would include about 10-15% at either end with much more in the middle than Uptown has. That's why it doesn’t make sense to build more low-income housing in this community until the middle is filled in. Uptown is already too heavy on the low-income side.

  9. A couple of problems...

    Let's say you culd reduce the low income housing in Uptown -- where would those people go? If you could spread them out over Kenilworth, WIlmette, Winnetka (which all clearly are LACKING in their "fair share" of low income housing), then you'd be heroes, and take out the perception that Shiller does things for the poor.

    But as it is, their most likely option is to move to neighborhoods with HIGHER crime -- Englewood, ROseland, Austin...places where they may have actually moved AWAY from.

    While youve made Uptown "better", you're letting your former neighbors suffer in worse neighborhoods.

    ALSO, are the Habitat for Humanity homes considered "low income housing" and contributing to the crime in the neighborhood? If not, then STRONGLY advocating for that kind of "affordable housing" again takes out any support Shiller would have, and creates the perception that you care about the HARD WORKING LAW ABIDING part of the poor population.

    The people in charge of PR for those in the Uptown Chicago Commission/Uptown Neighbors Council camp should really bring out the low income housing residents in Uptown who agree with your point of view. Again, it would demolish the perception that such groups are just "rich condo owners who don't care about their poor neighbors" (the stereotype perception).

    i have said for years, if just 10% of those who voted against Shiller would mentor a teenager, and be involved in their lives, you'd easily have enough votes to defeat Shiller.

  10. jp, your solution of building more low income housing brings in more low income residents. That doesn't resolve the problem but it makes it worse. On top of that, we can't get Shiller to even build low income housing right. She keeps sticking with 100% low income buildings rather than mixed-income.

    I looked at the Uptown Chicago Commission's website and they state that if TIF dollars are to be used for low-income housing, it should be spent on rehabbing existing low income housing rather than creating more. If you listened to Cappleman on Channel 11, and I know you did, he stated that the building of any new low income housing should be in mixed-income developments.

    If you want to be a political consultant, get a job doing that. Maybe Helen Shiller will hire you.

  11. Who couldn't predict that JP "Blog Troll" Paulus - the Helen Shiller surrogate wouldn't show up and try to make this a rich v poor, racist issue. "Where will they go?" are Shiller campaign words taken right out of her mouth.

    So as I am Anon 11:57 who made the preemptive strike trying to shoot this down before the troll arrived let's get on the table:

    1. This is not a rich v poor issue. The poor are hurt by crime in housing even more than the neighborhood. Why don't they speak up against management? Because they are afraid of making waves with the same management company that has the power to document their faults and toss them out of their housing onto the streets. And, working with these people, many of whom are my friends, I have found many instances of retaliation over the years.

    2. The maps shown on Uptown Update does not do the problem justice. It shows all low income housing - including senior and disabled housing - whereas much of the low income housing clustered in Uptown is shelter, SRO, transitional and special needs housing designed to take people off the streets. There is an extremely high rate of substance abuse associated with living on the streets so that carries into these types of housing - even though they are geared toward ending substance abuse. Thus, concentrating this housing in a small geographic area creates a perfect market for drug dealers looking to profit from them and our community.

    3. When you talk about Habitat for Humanity you are talking about 4-6 townhomes at Leland and Kenmore out of 6000 low income housing units in Uptown. And, JP, I know the same people who live there as you do. That housing is not representative of the low income housing stock in Uptown.

    4. We, in Uptown, are not the cause for the City of Chicago and Helen Shiller's policy of concentration low income housing in Uptown and extremely poor neighborhoods. Nope, No-Way, No-No-No. You have your government officials and the Chicago Department of Housing to thank for that. And you have the Federal Fair Housing enforcement agency, the U.S Dept of Justice - Civil Rights Division to thank for allowing Chicago get by with using its funding schemes and policies to force the disabled into the Uptown leper colony.

  12. What ever happened to Gatreaux which capped the number of low-income residents in an area? Did I miss a reversal on that decision or is our illustrious Alderman still allowed to run the Ward however it takes to get herself re-elected?

  13. JP Paulus: JPUSA, O.N.E., COURAJ and all of the other Uptown players have to start advocating for quality low income housing all over Chicagoland instead of just concentrating more of it here because you can get it here. Helen's affordable housing set aside ordinance was a good one---but no Chicago alderman have inacted it. The Mayor has no true interest in pursuing policies that will really de-segregate this City. Therefore, it is HIGH TIME for the aforementioned groups to STOP beating up middle-class property owners in Uptown about this issue and really start calling HUD and the City to task. For example, in two census tracts in Uptown, the number of scattered site units will exceed the number of owner-occupied homes, according to the Chicago Reporter. When regular folks say "it is too much" that is the kind of underlying data that they are pointing to even if they don't know it.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, the policies that the "leaders" of Uptown have pursued here have preserved a certain kind of affordable housing along the lakefront over the years. Without them fighting, things probably would have turned out differently. But you are simply not creating a true mixed-income, multi-ethnic community at this point. I know that is what I want and I know that I am not alone in wanting it. If I had wanted to move to Edison Park, I would have.

  14. JP Paulus: JPUSA, O.N.E., COURAJ and all of the other Uptown players have to start advocating for quality low income housing all over Chicagoland instead of just concentrating more of it here because you can get it here.

    Maybe they could all start advocating for mixed-income housing in Uptown rather than 100% low income housing. That would be a good start.

  15. This is an important story about a struggling community if Florida. Will this story make Florida’s local news?
    There’s an area along the Florida coast that has been shark infested for years. Locals call the area Shiller’s Cove (this has something to do with a ruthless pirate named Shiller that used the cove as a hideout). The shark attacks on humans are too numerous to count with many many deaths over the years. In fact there was one very brutal fatality just a few days ago. FSA (Florida Shark Authority) has hundreds of sharks they need to relocate and there’s a plan to bring them to Shiller’s Cove even though there are thousands of miles of coastline that could accept these sharks (if they were dispersed) with no harm to any humans. Since the news media is the only way to get their public officials to listen to them, the citizens who live near the Cove are trying everything in their power to get the news media to hear their story. Will they succeed?

  16. Concentrated poverty breeds crime and violence. Uptown is living proof, 40% of Uptown's residents live in poverty.

    Their children face gangs and violence every day.

    Their children go to schools like Arai/Uplift that had students rioting on Wilson last week.

    Their children know what's going on with the gangs,but don't feel comfortable sharing.

    What do the parents do? They send their children out of Uptown. They send them to live with relatives in the suburbs so they can go to good school.

    Every summer, many of my neighbor kids are sent to stay with family out of state. The moms simply want to protect their kids from the summer violence and gangs.

    Or the kids are enrolled in summer programs at Margate, Gill and Chase park. Not Clarendon.

    Who stays? The kids whose parents can't afford to send them away. And the gang members.

    Welcome to Uptown.

  17. All good reasons to support the McCormick Boys & Girls Club this summer and do anything you can to help this community reduce the violence on our streets.

  18. These maps do NOT show the correlation the person who sent them in wants them to. There are plenty of instances where the neighborhood has "high concentration" of low income housing w/o a murder reflected in the second map. Also there are many neighborhoods with"mid concentration" of low income housing where a murder did in fact take place.

    Whether or not low income housing and crime walk hand in hand may or may not be true, but these maps do not show such a thing, and its really sad and disingenuous to try to "prove" it via these particular maps.

  19. You are right, 9:59. These maps don't "prove" any correlation. (BTW--Does anyone here think that they do?) Why don't you send something more accurate in and provide a more complete explanation? Many of us would be interested.

  20. Anon 9:59 and 11:00 (probably one and the same)
    Google "crime and concentrated proverty" You'll find tons of research about the relationship.

    For example: Robert Sampson, the Lucy Flower Professor in Sociology (Univ. of Chicago),is the lead author of a study that found social disorder and crime stem from the same sources, especially
    concentrated poverty and low collective efficacy.

  21. I was anon 11:00 so it was not the same person as 9:59. While the person was technically correct that these particular maps do not show "a correlation" you shouldn't just leave it at that if you are the kind of person who is knowledgeable enough to point that out. I was asking that person, then, what other data would be more accurate? I would be interested to see what the anonymous objector would send in.