Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Loitering Season Is Upon Us

A reader writes in:
"I just got back from dinner at El Pollo Loco and walking down Wilson in front of the Wilson Men's Hotel (at 1124 W. Wilson) was a nightmare. Trash was strewn about. There must have a been a crowd of close to 20 people loitering right in front of Viet Bowl and the Wilson Men's Hotel. I had to stop and wait for people to move to even get down the sidewalk! I noticed a sign on the Wilson Men's Hotel that said "No Loitering within 15 Feet of Door." That is not being enforced at all. I wonder if the owners of Viet Bowl are scared to call the police. They have a no loitering sign on their window. That cannot be good for business. Just thought you would like to know."

UU Note:
We encourage our readers to call 911 whenever you see excessive loitering. Businesses on Wilson (and all of Uptown) are struggling in this economy. This behavior is definitely not creating a positive environment for Uptown businesses to operate in.

Update: You can write to Bomberg Management at if you want to make your feelings known about this loitering.


  1. That 100 feet or so, stretch from the L stop, to the 'Hotel' is Dante's Inferno. It's really a challenge sometimes, walking on that side of the street.

    And it only gets worse in the summer.

  2. Yes its like this all thorugh and around Uptown. I try to avoid walking through it specially at night. I have called the police and they say they have the right to hang around. I told out famous alderwomen and her workers say if i hate things so much maybe I should move to a plave that will make me happy. I think this is a unhealthy and unsafe condition and I even hate to invite my friends as they are scard to walk the streets anymore around and in uptown........

  3. I also noticed that the Seven Eleven has started selling 40oz beers again. Aren't they prohibited from doing this? It can't be helping the situation on Wilson.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I think they are allowed to sell 40's as long as it isn't the cheap beer, could be wrong though.

  6. "I think they are allowed to sell 40's as long as it isn't the cheap beer, could be wrong though."

    I only drink the premium 40's so no problem there.

    Seriously, what 40's aren't cheap? I hope Magnolia Neigbors or whichever block club was involved with this earlier looks into the matter again.

  7. I parked in front of the Wilson Men's Hotel last Saturday. I had to ask twice for some guy who was leaning on the parking meter to move. He than made all kinds of announcements about how long my meter time was. It made me a little uncomfortable to say the least. I wonder if in situations like this if marching into the Wilson Men's club to point this out to the manager would be worthwhile? Do they have a manager? At least then when the owner hears about this, and he will thanks UU, he can't say the management was not aware. I should have called 911 next time I will do that as well.

  8. You can also let Jay Bomberg know...he owns the place and also sits on the Uptown Chamber's board of directors. Seems a bit counter-productive to me.

  9. Very counterproductive indeed. Weather's warmer now -- LOTS of public drinking was going on already this morning at 7:30 AM...

    In anticipation of the "well people don't care when it happens near Wrigley" comments, I DO also care when it happens at Wrigley, I just live in Uptown so care more about when it happens outside my house.

  10. Definitely tell Jay! I have met and interviewed the man and believe that he is sincere about wanting to bring quality inexpensive housing to Uptown and demanding responsibilities from the tenants. In case you didn't know, he was one of the movers and shakers behind the former Jane Addams Center on Wilson and the SRO upstairs. It's a very well-run facility whose tenants are screened, and who are willing to chip in with cleaning, etc. to keep their home in good condition.

  11. Call 911. Call 911. Call 911. Every time I walk through the so called "Dante's Inferno" I call 911 once I reach Jimmy Johns. There is public drinking. There is loitering. There is people trading goods. There is little attempt to hide it.

    I have no idea what goods are being exchanged, but I do see money changing hands. I don't know if it is innocent, but I do know it is loitering.

    Call the police. Then snap some camera phone pics. Then email and send them to Uptown Update.

    I literally walk through the inferno zig zagging to avoid people on the sidewalk. A half block down I am stopping to allow mothers with baby strollers to pass in front of me. It is rather strange to see two different worlds in one block of walking.

  12. What is Jay's phone, Email, home address?

  13. We added contact information for Bomberg Management to the post. Write to

  14. I worry that the long bitter winter we've had will only exacerbate this type of problem here and at many of Uptown's other known trouble spots.

  15. The only loitering that is against the law is the folowing.

    The currant locations in the 23rd district are:
    1)Magnolia Av (1232 W) to Malden St (1299 W): Montrose Av (4400 N) to Sunnyside Av (4499 N)

    2) Wilson Av (4600 N): Hazel St (900 W) to Broadway Av (1099 W)

    8-4-015 Gang loitering.
    Whenever a police officer observes a member of a criminal street gang engaged in gang loitering with one or more persons in any public place designated for the enforcement of this Section under subsection (b), the police officer shall, subject to all applicable procedures promulgated by the Superintendent of Police: (i) inform all such persons that they are engaged in gang loitering within an area in which loitering by groups containing criminal street gang members is prohibited; (ii) order all such persons to disperse and remove themselves from within sight and hearing of the place at which order was issued; and (iii) inform those persons that they will be subject to arrest if they fail to obey the order promptly or engage in further gang loitering within the sight or hearing of the place at which the order was issued during the next three hours.

    The Superintendent of Police shall by written directive designate areas of the City in which the Superintendent has determined that enforcement of this Section is necessary because gang loitering has enabled criminal street gangs to establish control over identifiable areas, to intimidate others from entering those areas, or to conceal illegal activities. Prior to making a determination under this subsection, the Superintendent shall consult as he or she deems appropriate with persons who are knowledgeable about the effects of gang activity in areas in which the ordinance may be enforced. Such persons may include, but need not be limited to, members of the Department of Police with special training or experience related to criminal street gangs; other personnel of that Department with particular knowledge of gang activities in the proposed designated area; elected and appointed officials of the area; community-based organizations; and participants in the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy who are familiar with the area. The Superintendent shall develop and implement procedures for periodic review and update of designations made under this subsection.

    The Superintendent shall by written directive promulgate procedures to prevent the enforcement of this Section against persons who are engaged in collective advocacy activities that are protected by the Constitution of the United States or the State of Illinois.

    As used in this Section:

    "Gang loitering" means remaining in any one place under circumstances that would warrant a reasonable person to believe that the purpose or effect of that behavior is to enable a criminal street gang to establish control over identifiable areas, to intimidate others from entering those areas, or to conceal illegal activities.
    "Criminal street gang" means any ongoing organization, association, association in fact or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its substantial activities the commission of one or more criminal acts enumerated in paragraph (3), and whose members individually or collectively engage in a pattern of criminal or gang activity.

    "Criminal gang activity" means the commission, or solicitation of the following offenses, provided that the offenses are committed by two or more persons, or by an individual at the direction of, or in association with, any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further or assist in any criminal conduct by gang members:

    The following sections of the Criminal Code of 1961: 9-1 (murder), 9-3.3 (drug-induced homicide), 10-1 (kidnapping), 10-4 (forcible detention), subsection (a)(13) of Section 12-2 (aggravated assault-discharging firearm), 12-4 (aggravated battery ), 12-4.1 (heinous battery), 12-4.2 (aggravated battery with a firearm), 12-4.3(aggravated battery of a child), 12-4.6 (aggravated battery of a senior citizen), 12-6 (intimidation), 12-6.1 (compelling organization membership of persons), 12-11 (home invasion), 12-14 (aggravated criminal sexual assault), 18-1 (robbery), 18-2 (armed robbery), 19-1 (burglary), 19-3 (residential burglary), 19-5 (criminal fortification of a residence or building), 20-1 (arson), 20-1.1 (aggravated arson), 20-2 (possession of explosives or explosive or incendiary devices), subsections (a)(6), (a)(7), (a)(9) or (a)(12) of Section 24-1 (unlawful use of weapons), 24-1.1 (unlawful use of weapons by felons or persons in the custody of the Department of Corrections facilities), 24-1.2 (aggravated discharge of a firearm), subsection (d) of Section 25-1 (mob action-violence), 33-1 (bribery), 33A-2 (armed violence); Sections 5,5.1,7 or 9 of the Cannabis Control Act where the offense is a felony (manufacture or delivery of cannabis, cannabis trafficking, calculated criminal cannabis conspiracy and related offenses); or Sections 401, 401.1, 405, 406.1, 407 or 407.1 of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (illegal manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, controlled substance trafficking, calculated criminal drug conspiracy and related offenses).

    "Pattern of criminal gang activity" means two or more acts of criminal gang activity of which at least two such acts were committed within five years of each other.

    "Public place" means the public way and any other location open to the public, whether publicly or privately owned.

    Any person who fails to obey promptly an order issued under subsection (a), or who engages in further gang loitering within sight or hearing of the place at which such an order was issued during the three hour period following the time the order was issued, is subject to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500 for each offense, or imprisonment for not more than six months for each offense, or both. A second or subsequent offense shall be punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of not less than 5 days imprisonment.

    In addition to or instead of the above penalties, any person who violates this section may be required to perform up to 120 hours of community service pursuant to Section 1-4-120 of this Code.

    SECTION 2. This ordinance shall take effect 30 days after passage and approval.

    Source: Police and Fire Committee of the Chicago City Council, January 12, 2000.

  16. But, NM, isn't it illegal for a group of folks to block the sidewalk to the point where pedestrians and shoppers can't get by? I'm not disagreeing with you on the loitering laws (and thanks for pointing out the zones in 23 where loitering is prohibited -- good to know), but I'm thinking it can't be legal to just take over the sidewalk day after day.

    Or am I being incredibly naive? Again. (wouldn't be the first time.)

  17. I did try to search for a ordinance regarding that but could not find any. The only reference is about street performers and aggressive panhandlers.


    Check your self at

    Anti-loitering laws were ruled unconstitutional and that why the city had to create the gang loitering law and the first version was still found unconstitutional. Google loitering in Chicago and see all the links about that. The same goes for panhandling. The aggressive panhandling law doesn't say you cannot panhandle, it's only when additional acts or locations occur does it make it illegal.