Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wilson Light Poles Receive Priority Mail Delivery From Gangs

A reader writes in:

"I'm a resident who lives on Wilson. I caught a silver sedan full of 3 hispanic youths driving up Wilson and pasting gang signs (on US postage labels) on most all the light posts on Wilson today (heading west from Dover)

For what its worth - here's photos I took, one with the youths face, the other with the car as well as the gang signs."


  1. Great Day!

    I just saw five African AM gang bangers making a drug deal at Malden and Sunnyside while the kids were getting out of school.


  2. Why not replace them with these:

    If you want to clean up the neighborhood, just do it. Everyone can make it a better place instead of complaining about it. Why even mention the race of people? How does that help anything? If you see kids dealing drugs, go out and do something about it, if you see kids posting graffiti, go out and do something about it.

  3. I hope you were able to get the license number of the car and called 911

  4. Stef, for the most part, I understand your point. Many of us do 'do something' about this kind of thing. Besides incessently calling 911 every time we see crime, I have torn signs like these down and thrown them away, and picked up trash, etc.

    As far as including a description? It's helpful for the community to know who to look out for, and to give accurate descriptions to the police.

  5. Oh Stef I put this on another blog but I see your posting your race card stuff here as well so here you are....

    Stef's White condescension, party of one!

    Why does race matter when describing illegal activity? Ok here is this better...

    I saw 5 things, dealing things, at a location, in a city, somewhere in the USA. Wait now I am generalizing Americans..change it to on land. Does that work?

  6. Please understand I'm not condoning it and I hope those pictures get the guy arrested but for the sake of accuracy, I think those are taggers names rather than gang signs. The halo between the sort of quotation marks is used by taggers. Stuff with stars (five or six point), and pitchforks pointing up or down is gang symbolisim. Taggers do use asterisk-looking stars but almost never a five point style one. A crown with three points is a taggers symbol. Five-point crowns are a Latin Kings symbol and inverted it is a sort of F-you to the Latin Kings.
    In other regions the Latin Kings do use three point crowns but not around here.

  7. Uptown Dad...

    CAPS Meeting
    June 17, 2008 at 7pm – Inspiration Cafe, 4750 N. Broadway
    CAPS Meeting, Beat 2312

    Please come and bring those photo's as well. Perhaps Helen might show up?


    CAPS meeting next week is 4750 N. SHERIDAN between Leland and Lakewood

  9. Hey? Where did Billy Joe's post go? I know he doesn't have the best credibility around here but he posted a link to an article to read...and I like to read...so I read it. It was from the Atlantic Monthly. Now that I have read it, I'd like to know what his point was.

    I'm listening...

  10. So uptown dad, what did you do about the five African AM gang bangers doing a drug deal?

    Posting negativity does not make things better. Posting race also does not make things better. You can be condescending to me, I don't really care. Here you come off as a person who sits by and watches what is happening but is too apathetic to do something about it, and that is just sad. Bashing others is just as sad.

  11. Saskia-
    Perhaps because BillyJoe has done nothing but detract from conversations and his "link" had nothing to do with the post at hand. Its ironic how he appears after someone mentioned his name today. Just a thought.

  12. Hey Stef,

    I am 6'3 225lbs. I work out 6 days a week at World Gym. I am built like a truck. I do not sit by and let the activity happen. Trust me my presence is felt. But when I am teaching my 3 year old how to ride a bike am I supposed to "pick a fight?" Then you can call me an abusive white racist?

    You being a 34 year old student should understand the importance of kids having a safe path to walk home from school.

    Your the worst kind of racist. You expect less from other races. I hold people accountable for there actions.

  13. Built like a truck? Uptown Dad, will you hang out with me while I walk my dog tonight? :)

    My 15 lb puppy isn't very intimidating. I should of bought a Rottweiler or something.

  14. Oh, I know that MaldenMan. It was actually me who pointed out today that BillyJoe's racist trolling was the only other time we had such vile things on this website before. But he did come back once with a really sensitive portrayal of recent decisions at CHA. His troll cover was blown but what he had to contribute in that instance wasn't bad at all.

    The Atlantic Monthly article he referenced was about scattered site housing. No doubt there was a risk that he would twist a very interesting article into something awful, but I thought I would just keep trying. It is not like the pro-Shiller camp's issues aren't important or entirely off-the-mark for Uptown. What is devastating is the manner in which these guys conduct themselves.

    Everyone knows I keep trying to get a productive conversation going. The last few days nearly killed all hope for me but I am still holding out a teensy weensy little bit. *Sigh*

  15. I got your back Farrell. Don't underestimate a 15 lbs dog. They can tear an ankle up like it's nobody's business.

    My wife and I just had a bunch of kids from the lone section 8 house on the south side of Malden filling up water balloons in our yard. It was nice that the kids felt safe and laughed and had a good time without the threat of violence.

    "Stef" angers me a tad, because she is quick to play the race card. Walk to the stores on Wilson and they all know me and my family. We support or business, we get involved in our community. We don't check race cards before we shop at stores. We get involved in groups like WAMA even when we don't own a business.

    It is easy for her to tell us how we are supposed to live, how we are supposed to see people in our neighborhood. I say get involved then judge.

  16. She angers you a tad, Uptown Dad? In the first time she ever posted on this blog, she chooses to jump right in calling people racists when the post she was looking at said nothing whatsoever about anyone except their gender. And it also seems that she believed that the story was made up when it came straight from the police scanner. Now, racism is a serious issue and we all need to learn how to open our hearts more in this country. That being said, the last thing that is going to encourage me to do that is someone jumping in on a blog calling people names when they don't even know what are talking about!

    But, as I have said before Uptown is a place for second chances so I am sure that in the future Stef can let her feelings be known in a more constructive way.

  17. You don't need to pick a fight to make your neighborhood safer. All you have to do is say hey guys, not here, not on this block, go somewhere else.
    I see racism here, you can claim I am playing the race card, that is fine, pigeonholing people is what seems to occur best here. It is fine if I anger you, maybe it is because I am making you think about your actions and maybe what I say rings true. That could be a very good thing. Please don't believe everything you read on the uptown crime blogger, or on the UU, not everything happens the way it is posted, or is it all on a scanner. Sometimes common sense is best. The views on here are too narrow for me really, so I doubt I'll be checking this out all that often. Try to be open minded and remember what neighborhood you choose to live in, and think about the true causes of poverty and crime before going off on a tangent.

  18. Stephanie McNeely do you live in Champaign? I see your "cupcake recipe" and the little ones birthday celebration happening there. How Safe and cozy!

    My sons party will be in the front of our uptown residence on Sat. With the "Uptown" folk.

    Thanks for telling me not to believe everything I read. Because I was just stupid enough to do that. I get my information from walking the streets of Uptown, Talking to different people.

    That "cupcake recipe" sure does look good though. Thanks Dear.

    Oh, and I love the George McFly like response you suggested. "hey guys, not here, not on this block, go somewhere else."
    That will work. Considering these people don't have any respect for there neighborhood, family, god, or the law. Im sure that will work in fantasy land.
    I am done with Stef until she can prove she lives in Uptown.

  19. You see racism.

    I see dead people.

    If I have to be called a racist to stop senseless gun violence on our streets then so be it. Bring it on because there is a point when such "pigeonholing" becomes ridiculous. You know nothing about me...what I actually do in real life (you'd be surprised!) or even the kind of comments I have contributed to this blog for months on end.

    I don't know where some people get off holding themselves as morally superior to others. It is like some people have come to this site and can't help convincing themselves that all the legends are true and there really are evil racists living amongst us! Look, here they are on full display for us! Root them out! Burn them at the stake! But, the last thing we should EVER EVER do is be patient and engage in a discussion and listen. That would be above and beyond the call of duty where these evildoers are concerned.

  20. There is no cupcake recipe on my blog, but I would be happy to pass one on. We did live in Champaign, but have happily returned to the city, after a year of being away. I have been an uptown resident for over 5 years, and have recently started reading this blog, and have been very moved and saddened by it's content. I also think there is a lot of misunderstanding the content of comments, and a lot of judgment and misinterpretations. I have no problem telling people not on my block, not here, go somewhere else, and it works. Calling 911 constantly does not work, bullying does not work. Let people know that you care about your neighborhood too, pick up trash when you see it, cover graffiti with messages of kindness, go out for walks after dark, let drug dealers know that you see them and that you want them to leave, these things work. One person can't do then alone, it takes everyone in the community to care, and change will occur. It is important to know that not every tagger is in a gang, and not every drug dealer is in a gang.

  21. Stef

    I stand corrected, you have a review of a cupcake joint in Champaign on your profile. How bad do cupcakes have to be to get a bad review? I thought Cupcakes were like sex, even the bad ones are still good. Sorry Moderater, I had to say it.

    All the best to you and you family though Stef. Thsnks for playing the UU blog.

  22. "How bad do cupcakes have to be to get a bad review?"

    Very, very bad. These cupcakes...like sawdust with wipped cream, and it was so very sad, because I so wanted them to be good.

  23. I don't like the idea of saying "hey, not on this block." seems to be continuing the whole NIMBY attitude.

    Uptown Dad -- happy birthday to your son! And I see no racism in your comment...

    To the original photographer: did you give the license plate to the police? Regardless of whether the tagger was in a gang or not (in reply to "not all taggers are in gangs), it's graffiti. And that's illegal.

  24. "I don't like the idea of saying "hey, not on this block." seems to be continuing the whole NIMBY attitude."

    Maybe you don't really understand the origins of not in my back yard? Telling a drug dealer, not here, not in my neighborhood is not quite the same thing.

  25. You said this: I have no problem telling people not on my block, not here, go somewhere else, and it works.

    That's where I maybe misunderstood?

  26. "cover graffiti with messages of kindness, go out for walks after dark, let drug dealers know that you see them and that you want them to leave, these things work. One person can't do then alone..."
    So THAT'S why those drug dealers are still at the Sunnyside Mall. I'm not sure how many people feel comfortable playing "I Spy" with the bangers WHILE they are doing their thing. Listen, love, stick to cupcakes and happy things. Your suggestions, aside from being a we bit on the hippy trippy side, are downright dangerous. Please do your mother a favor and don't tell her this is how you're dealing with the drug dealers of Uptown. She'll have a heart attack.

  27. Good morning.

    After sleeping on it (I guess it is apparent to everyone that Uptown issues have been on my mind a lot since the rally) I am still incensed. When I take a step back and examine all of the criticism that this online community has received after the rally it amounts to "stop being so negative...it's not really this bad...its worse elsewhere...its really YOU that has the problem...you are the minority on this issue and your motives are, at heart, selfish and cruel."

    Some folks say it "nicely" and others don't. But the bottom line is that I am witnessing an attempt by an "establishment" to discredit and marginalize a group of people who really do have valid concerns. This is wrong and decent people should ask themselves why. I am not in love with everything on this blog---but it is a public forum. And since Uptown's civic life has been taken over by a pseudo-lefty oligarchy those same people shouldn't be complaining that they don't like this. This is what you get when you silence and marginalize decent people for not following your every backroom decision like political lemmings.

    So, I'd propose that the critics stick to the issues and then maybe some of us will shut up.

    1. What should a group of marginalized people do when their voices are not being heard through official channels?

    2. Prove to me that the 46th ward does not have the highest % of violent crime of all of the neighborhoods in its police district and prove to me that when you take the two police district (20 & 23) data together, that Uptown doesn't have a high rate of violent crime for a neighborhood of its socio-economic characteristics. The jury is still out on whether there has been an increase in crime, but show me something there too.

    3. If dissenters are the ones with the problem then tell me all about the TIF money that has been used for innovative job rehabilitation programs and what work has been done citywide to make it such that the way some policy issues have been handled (publicly and privately)have not significantly fallen on two neighborhoods' shoulders---Uptown and Roger's Park. Tell me how Chicagoland is not still heavily racially segregated and how the City has been TRULY moving away from that longstanding approach. It is very easy to point a finger at the moral inferiority of dissenters living in communities such as ours but "the establishment" has a responsibility to account for how it has perpetuated a number of structural factors that result in the perpetuation of poverty and different outcomes for people according to race. Our alderman has been in office for 20 years. She endorsed Daley. Daley endorsed her. Is the record so substantial that it merits pointing the finger at what may or may not be in the hearts of local residents?

    I am sorry for the long post but as they say, "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

  28. Stef - I wish you all the luck in the world asking the drug dealers to leave. But that approach strikes me as amazingly dangerous.

    We have ample, unfortunant evidence that these a-holes don't care about property or life. Innocent people have BEEN SHOT. What makes you think that going up to them and asking them to leave is a good idea?

    I also say that calling 911 DOES work. I personall saw my corner "cleaned up" last summer by working with the cops and I never once had to go down and talk to the dealers.

  29. While I am far off from being on the same page with Stef's methods I can understand her some what. Last year I came home from a run and had two 50ish year old users smoking in my Parking lot. They Said "Sorry sir we aint trying to bother no body we just trying to smoke some rock."
    I informed them that..
    A. They were on provate propery.
    B. The car they were smoking next to belonged to a SGT. in the CPD.
    C. Get the F#%K out of here.

    But the difference is that these guys were Users, not dealers. Dealers carry cash, drugs, guns, and they will kill you. Dead.

    Please keep on calling 911 folks. Every month on our phone statements we pay for it. Every two weeks taxes get pulled from our checks to help pay for police.

  30. Believe what you want, don't do anything and let it occur, continue your fear & negativity. If you care about your community, you would show it in your actions, by being out in it and showing that you are not afraid. You will clean it up, and say hi to everyone you see, you will not be afraid to tell dealers, not here. Gandhi took down the English empire with non-violence and compassion, despite the reactions of those around him. Call me hippy trippy, throw what ever names you want around, but caring about your neighborhood and working to clean it up works and matters to everyone in that community, but you don't have to do anything, continue to complain and demand that someone else do it. Have a lovely day.

  31. Ghandi was shot and killed, no?

    I AM doing stuff. Just because I'm not confronting the gang members directly doesn't mean I don't care.

  32. Stef, just because I don't reach out and hug a drug dealer every day, doesn't mean that I don't care about my neighborhood, and I don't do anything to make a difference. I do everything that I can that doesn't put me staring down the barrel of a gun, or a knife, or getting jumped by a bunch of gang bangers like my neighbor in broad daylight for no apparent reason at all.

    I invite you to come hang out on my corner, Ainslie and Kenmore, at dusk, and at 4:00 a.m. I'd like to have you go up to them and ask them to please stop dealing on my corner.

    Hopefully they only laugh at you instead of shooting you.

    They don't give a rats butt that we are there. I've stood outside in my yard with my neighbors in broad daylight, and have had deals go down right in front of me. It happens when I'm walking my dog, it happens when I'm walking with my husband. They don't care.

    The 17 year old gang banger that got shot in the gut at 9:30 at night outside my building a few months ago? A bunch of people, including my neighbor across the street, were out walking their dogs when that went down. There were people outside when that happened. Did that deter the other gang banger from opening fire? Nope.

    Did all of the people that were walking around Truman College deter the gangbanger who shot two innocent people in cold blood? Nope.

    I have no interest in trying to make nice with criminals in my community just because they live here. I'm sorry, there is NO excuse for what they do. Bad childhood? Cry me a river. I'd be happy to swap horror stories with them. There are plenty of hard working, poor people in Uptown who manage to do what they can to survive without breaking the law.

    Enough is enough. If you want to bake the dealers and bangers cupcakes and ask them to give hugs and not slugs, go right ahead. I prefer not looking like swiss cheese. I'll call the cops for that. They at least can shoot back, and have body gear.

  33. Anyone aware if you can run the license plate to determine if the vehicle has traffic/parking violations?

    The only places I know charge a fee.

  34. In regards to being friendly, I do that. What's alarming is the different responses. I say five "hellos". I get back four "hellos" and one dealer reaching into his pocket. This actually occurred Monday night at 6:30PM on the block of 1300 W Wilson. At the time there was a marked CPD vehicle on the SW corner of Magnolia and Wilson and an unmarked CPD vehicle in front of the CFD firehouse.

    Dealers that care little about risk? Shoddy undercover selling? Or just your typical Uptown commute?

  35. I'll make my point again. All of these suggestions rightfully fall under the category of "coping mechanisms." Get involved, kiss babies, plant flowers, smile at your neighbors, even call 911 when it is warranted...all fine and good.

    Even if you do all of those things perfectly with gladness and singleness of heart, you are still left with the fact that few people are willing to talk about or address the serious underlying issues that are resulting in violence on our streets. On top of that, few people are willing to talk about or address any number of things that we might do about it. It's all fine & under control.

    I guess I will carry a sign that says "it's under control" if, God forbid, someone else is slain on our streets. I have yet to hear from anyone in a official capacity that the crime is unacceptable and that more should be done. It shouldn't have to take this much effort to get to that point but I guess it does. After acknowledging that a problem exists, we need to see some leaders in this community STEP UP and start working on solutions that come out of our collective experience. Ignoring it will not make it go away and neither will this despicable practice of deflecting the issue in favor of making personal attacks on people.

    So, follow Stef's recommendations to a T. Call 911 too. Those coping mechanisms might have some effect. But until this community starts talking, acknowledging problems and figuring out how to DO SOMETHING MORE then that is all you'll have...your coping mechanisms.

  36. I'm voting Saskia '11!

    Again, well said!

  37. I'm confused by Stef and her comment that she lives in Uptown. It seems she is being a bit misleading. "We did live in Champaign, but have happily returned to the city, after a year of being away. I have been an uptown resident for over 5 years..." Her entire post, which is current, is about Champaign. She makes references about Illini Eyecare in April. The cupcake shop. What's up Stef? I'm curious as you have so much to say to Uptown Dad, yet it appears that you have been living a quite and safe little life in the backyard in Champaign until quite recently.

  38. Thanks, Farrell :) I know you were kidding but since some people like to paint this blog as some candidate's election tool I would like to say that I have no intentions whatsoever in that direction. I couldn't handle Chicago politics. I have a big mouth and I hardly ever use to it kiss ass.

    I just want to live here with my family and pursue my passions in life. I have been leaving my mark all over this blog lately and I do appreciate anyone who has spent time reading what I have written. My purpose is simple (and should be transparent): I want people to start talking, start creating some homegrown solutions and to not scare away people like you who seem willing to get involved too. Uptown has had a rocky history. It's time to get that pleasant multi-ethnic mixed-income community by the lake that we all seem to want.

  39. I understand your wariness to be in politics Saskia, in many ways, gangs and politics have a lot in common when you think about it! :)

    Regardless, I appreciate your voice on this blog. I knwo I can get hot under the collar and blog without thinking (a good reason why I would not do well in politics either!) but I believe we all have a common goal here.

    Enjoy the weather everyone, its gorgeous!

  40. There is nothing misleading about it. I have lived in uptown for over 5 years. We lived in Champaign for a year, the semester is over, we are back in the city. April is not current, it is now June, and we moved back in to the neighborhood June 1st. You can misinterpret the freaking rain, but it is what it is.

  41. phew, forgot how to sign in, sorry about the test.

    Stef, take a chill pill. I am with Uptown Dad. we have to keep calling the police and can only act as we see safe to do. one night i was walking home on Leland and i heard a couple of spray cans shaking, as I rounded the corner, I saw two girls stop what they were doing and look at me. I stealthily took my phone out of my pocket and called 911. didnt matter to me that they were Hispanic but those chics were about to spray paint something that wasn't theirs. i must have spooked them b/c there wasn't any paint on the wall the next day when i passed it but do you know how freaked out i was that they knew i saw them and they might have seen me get my phone out! There's only so much this 5'1" lady can do. and asking the druggies at malden and leland to please move is not on my agenda of things to do for the day i.e. getting attacked-you never know. i will call the police for sure, but i'd like to see you ask them to move it.

  42. I have a question please. I keep seeing references to Billy Bronco Playlot and the Sunnyside Mall... Where are these places? thanks

  43. Back to the original post, I really really hope the reader that sent in the pix called the police right then and there. It's not often we are given the opportunity to call the cops while something is in the act. Usually it's just calls to 311 after the fact to have things cleaned up.

    And Stef, stick around. There are often other topics discussed here that are not so heavy. Now that anonymous posting appears to be gone, there will also be far less race-baiting and inappropriate posts.

    For example, you'll see me arguing with folks about parking on Kenmore during Aragon shows. Hot stuff!

  44. Farrell,

    Ainslie and Kenmore? I wouldn't have guessed deals at that intersection. What's in the area that makes it a hotspot?

  45. I keep reading the same thing over and over again.... What are you doing about it? I do the same as anyone else...I call the police, I yell at the trash who are messing up the neighborhood, I clean up trash I see on the street. What has it gotten anyone? Nothing, the crime keeps getting worse. I personally have no issue with stating what race these people are. Since when are we so friggin pc in this country that we can’t state the obvious. I am white. Big deal. Most of the trouble makers are black or Hispanic. The truth is the truth. Am I condoning profiling, no? But when I see someone walking at me with their pants sagging and a sock on their head, I keep myself aware.

    Just my .02

    By the way, the last time I yelled at a thug while they were doing something they threatened my wife that they would rape her. Then you wonder why so many people keep their mouths shut.

  46. "But when I see someone walking at me with their pants sagging and a sock on their head, I keep myself aware."

    I wouldn't worry about the response to what you see. Black women predominantly say the exact same thing. Our subconcious is programmed in a way that does make people, regardless of their gender or race, maintain fairly similar reactions to things they see. Most people deny they do this, but when tested the results often support what you are saying.

    It's really shitty if you're the black or hispanic male that has nothing to do with crime and in fact is just as concerned about it as everyone else. There are hints of truth in what COURAJ says. Most of it is garbage, but the garbage portion gets them press coverage.

  47. Uptown Superhero--The Broncho Billy Playlot and the Sunnyside Mall are on the 4400 block of Magnolia. They are considered "hot spots" in the area due to the drug dealing and gambling that go on there most of the time.

    Speaking of the Sunnyside Mall, I got home yesterday and saw several squad cars and about 8-10 cops just hanging out there, so I approached them and asked what was up. The answer I got was that they were checking for SEAT BELT VIOLATIONS. I started laughing thinking he was joking with me but immediately checked myself when it became clear he really wasn't. I then asked him if...ummm...they had stopped a lot of people and he mumbled something awkwardly. I just nodded and said "Good luck with that" and walked away. Hmmmm, interesting.

  48. Sorry guys I got away from this post. The two Hotspots right now are Sunny Side and Magnolia vs kenmore and wilson area. These are the two gangs fighting right now. The Sunnyside gang shot the man from Truman last week. The Kenmore gang shot the guy in the thigh during Chicago's weekend of violence in May.

    Bronco Billy is a nice park no one can go in. The gang has been kicked out of BB park and are now hanging on Magnolia and Sunnyside with the ocasional run up to the bodega at Wilson and Magnolia.

    I guess the gang at Sunnyside and magnolia is about 25 members. Not sure on the other gang, but I know it is more, and I know they are more connected (Vice Lords) in the city. Most the Sunnyside kids are 13-20 and have addresses on the South side.

  49. Sugar Magnolia -- re the seat belt check.. it's kind of like the "Broken Windows" theory in reverse. If people are comfortable breaking the big laws (open containers, drugs, weapons in car), they sure don't care about wearing seat belts. So a seat belt check is a way for the cops to pull over people who are breaking the "small law" and see what it leads to.

    There was a seat belt check near me not too long ago (Wilson/Kenmore) and the police made an amazing number of arrests that way, for things like parole violations, failure to appear, weapons, possession of controlled substances, etc. And several DUIs.

    And this was at 10 a.m.!

    So I like seat belt checks. ;-)

  50. Thanks, Trumansquarenabr.I figured as much, but in light of all the stuff everybody knows about the Sunnyside Mall,who hangs out there and what they do, it just sounded really funny.

    So now, I too am a fan of the "seatbelt check." I think it is a great way to get around the whole profiling accusation. And....at the very least, on the off chance one of them gets into an accident with a ton of crack in hidden in the panels of the car, they can live to see their day in court ;)

  51. I know... it's like busting a crack dealer for littering, or not paying sales tax.

  52. Kenmore and Ainslie was a major hot spot before the new street lamps went up. It is an intersection made up of 2 one-way streets, so the dealers can easily be on the look out for cops. It is near a string of CHA buildings whose gates are missing locks or are left open, so they have a place to run and hide, etc.

    We purposely put very bright lights on our building and pointed them directly at that corner to try to deter dealing. It did help. The new street lamps that went in during the late winter/early spring really helped.

    However, we stll see a LOT of dealing. My husband works from home a few days a week, and is calling the cops at least once a day to report dealing in this intersection.