Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Car Break-Ins On Greenview

A reader writes: "It seems that our little corner of the world (4400 block of Greenview – both E and W side alleys) was the target of a smash & grab car burglary spree early this morning. The perpetrator(s) likely struck between 2-4am. Car windows were broken and any small things of value (iPods, cell phones, money, etc.) were taken. It doesn’t seem that any large items were taken, but I’m still taking inventory.

Please take note of the precautions you should take, such as: Keep your garages locked, car doors unlocked (to avoid a broken window), and keep nothing of value in your car. Also, if you were a victim of this incident, make sure that all garage door openers and spare keys that you may keep in your vehicle are accounted for.

Here is the email from our condo president: For anyone who hasn't yet heard, someone went on a car break-in spree in our neighborhood last night. The police were here this morning making out reports. The police believe the perp is an African-American male, about 5'5" - 5'7" tall, who was wearing a red or orange striped shirt. ______ heard a car alarm at about 3 this a.m., so we are guessing that's when he hit. As always, the police recommend keeping any personal property out of view inside your car, particularly cords or other evidence of GPS or music equipment that may be of value."


  1. I live at 4343 N. Clarendon. I own my own spot inside but I see out my window as I am up high punks trying to break in cars on a pretty regular basis on the streets below. I call 911 as soon as I can and usually by the time the cops come they are gone. I guess it not a priority call. Car alarms don`t seem to stop them at all for a grab once they bust the windows.....

  2. Does anyone that parks on the street or unsecured lot NOT lock their doors?
    I can understand this logic- but then I fear I'll have someone sleeping in my car, or worse yet turning tricks in my car!
    Any thoughts??

  3. Why, pray tell, would anyone leave anything visible in their car such as an ipod? This baffles me. When I used to live off Lawrence, without fail, there would always be glass on the ground from someone recently smashing a car window... probably just to get a couple of CDs. Simply cleaning up the inside of your car will do wonders (and, as they said in a previous CAPS meeting, take your GPS and other small electronics with you).

  4. Best things to do is not leave anything of value in sight. Thant includes any wires for any electronic devices and such. If they see a wire, they will assume there is something in the glove box. Don't give them a reason.

    This isn't only in Uptown. Last year I lived in Connecticut and our cars were broken into a total 4 times in a year. Took us awhile to figure it out.

  5. There isn't much you can do to stop them, they'll smash your windows just for the opportunity to look for stuff. I've had my car window smashed when the only thing of value in the car was a Country Music Mix Tape.

    Car break ins are just something that goes along with affordable housing. Along with your tax dollars, its just part of the price you have to pay.

  6. WindyCityEagle, talk about a generalization! I guess all poor people break into cars and steal from us rich folk. Probably to support their crack habits and bastard kids right? Since we are generalizing, we can go even further and say they are probably breaking into our BMW's right? For the price you paid for your Uptown condo, you should have bought a nice place in Schaumburg or Des Plaines. Maybe you could have finally lived in peace away from all the affordable house parasites.

  7. Good point, Jeff...

    It obviously was YUPPIES (because only us "rich folks" can afford to buy condos in the city) breaking into cars to support their cocaine habits and prep school-educated kids...


  8. Same thing in the back parking lot at 4520 N Clarendon. Smashed window.
    Must be that time of the year. Moving to the burbs end of the month. Will miss all the excitement, but will continue reading UU.

  9. jeff,

    I never generalized and said that everyone in affordable housing is a criminal, only that when you increase affordable housing in an area, you're going to see an increase in the crime rate. Poor people commit more crimes than rich people, its a statistical fact.

    They also litter more, upkeep their properties less, have higher drinking and drug use rates, and generally bring down the quality of life for everyone around them.

    Now, if we as a society are willing to take those negatives for the positive outcome of affordable housing, then thats ok, but we should all be aware of the hidden costs of affordable housing that are rarely mentioned.

  10. WCE, are these your own opinions/observations? Or are they backed up by statistics? Because I'm really uncomfortable with the generalizing.

  11. do you think by taking away affordable or subsidized housing, there would be less of these crimes?

  12. Those are some pretty broad generalizations, there windycity. I am surprised because you seem like a pretty sharp person.

    Could it be that poorer people get caught and convicted of crimes more than wealthier people and/or that there is less of a policing apparatus for white collar crimes?

    Could it be that some city neighborhoods get unequal city services so that trash tends to build up in poorer areas but not as much in wealthier areas? Also, is leaving your garbage behind at a festival and having it promptly cleaned up by taxpayer dollars considered littering too?

    I haven't tried to look up any national facts about alcohol and drug use but it seems to me that addiction is a mess that drags down all sorts of people. Some can just hide it better than others and/or get help sooner because they have resources to draw on.

    If you are trying to say that poor neighborhoods wear their problems on their sleeves more than wealthier ones...that things that happen in every neighborhood tend to spill out more in poor neighborhoods...I might agree. I am not sure where you are going with your points?...

  13. Does anyone that parks on the street or unsecured lot NOT lock their doors?

    Personally I lock my doors and try to never leave anything visible in sight. Sometimes I don't think it makes a difference. Crooks are pretty stupid. Most will just assume the door is locked and smash the window anyway. I had a Jeep wrangler with plastic windows that unzipped. Instead of simply unzipping the window the crook slashed it to steal a big plastic tarp I had on the back seat. Price of the tarp: about $10. Price of the window: About $125 on ebay. He should have unzipped the window and stolen it intact then sold it on ebay. Would have gotten more.

  14. I'll tread lightly here. Poor people don't like crime anymore than anyone else. However neighborhoods with very high crime rates tend to be ones with high poverty rates. Can you say Englewood? The solution is not getting rid of poor people, but it's fair to want a more diverse income level in the neighborhood.

    I wouldn't say car breakins come with affordable housing, but it might be related to neighborhoods with high levels of poverty.

  15. Just some links about crime and poverty: (a great site)

  16. Kevin (other): Nice straw man you have there.

    jeff and Caring Neighbor: WCE is just stating facts.

    At no point did WCE say affordable housing isn't a noble goal.

  17. Sassy we can philosophize the Chicken and the egg but that never seems to get us anywhere or solve anything. Sometimes you just have to draw a line in the sand.

    Until people want to look at themselves and see themselves as others see them we will be stuck on this never ending merry go round of disillusionment.

    Every car break in post UU has posted always has the inevitable comment "People should not leave things of value in there cars" or my favorite "People should lock their doors." Really? No kidding? We have all mastered the responsibility of owning, and driving a car yet we haven't learned how to lock it?

    And Windy you are a middle class white male. How dare you generalize! You know that is only allowed by 46th Ward Aldermen, & Supreme Court Nominees.

    Wow that felt good.

  18. Brad,

    The latter paper, while agreeing with my premise, seems to be an abuse of the practice of modeling. It reminds me quite a bid of what happened in finance.

    Here's what Paul Wilmott had to say about finance, but I think its equally applicable to crime/poverty

    "But markets are made of people, who are influenced by events, by their ephemeral feelings about events and by their expectations of other people's feelings. The truth is that there are no fundamental laws in finance. And even if there were, there is no way to run repeatable experiments to verify them."

    Or should you want to read the entire manifesto

  19. Could it be that some city neighborhoods get unequal city services so that trash tends to build up in poorer areas but not as much in wealthier areas?

    Check out the section 8 on Magnolia, or Broncho Billy park. Tons of trash mere feet from a trashcan, and an empty one at that.

    Walk to a block full of condos and you don't see that sort of thing.

    Could it be that poorer people get caught and convicted of crimes more than wealthier people and/or that there is less of a policing apparatus for white collar crimes?

    I'm not going to argue that the large African American incarciration rate is due mostly to A) the drug war and B) poverty. There is a clearly documented disparity in length of sentence from poor criminal to rich ones. No doubt about that.

    But that said, the link between poverty and crime still exists.

    And to be clear Sassy, I'm not saying that poorer community wear their problems on their sleeve more than rich ones, I'm arguing that poorer communities have more problems.

    As Shiller moves to make Uptown the poor northern ghetto, she's bringing those problems on all of us(but not her, since she's a hypocrite and won't live here)

    I think the biggest issue is that poor people have a different morality that middle class/rich people, and thats the fundamental reason that they're locked in a cycle of poverty. Until you change their morals and value system, they will always remain on the bottom rung of society. No amount of fish farms are gonna fix it.

  20. There was an interesting study done on an Indian tribe that was mired in poverty, extensive substance abuse, and a high rate of criminal activity such as we are seeing here. After the tribe opened a casino and all of its members received profit dividends, regardless of whether they worked in the casino or not, crime and substance abuse dropped dramaticly.

    What can we take from this study? I am not sure. Would it make sense simply to give people living in poverty enough money to live comfortably on to reduce the problems of property crime, prostitution, and substance use? (and yeah, where would the money come from not to mention the matter of what they deserve). Does poverty lead to crime? It appears so. Humans are gonna fight to survive and to provide for themselves and when they don't have squat that is gonna involve prostitution, stealing, and drug dealing. I am not saying any of that is right, but that is just the way it is. Can we ever affect an economy where almost everyone can live at least a middle class lifestlye? Or should we continue trying to push all people living in poverty into the same communities like Englewood or Lawndale to minimize the poverty's effects on the rest of us?

  21. Windycity...the stuff about Shiller trying to make Uptown a northern ghetto is just garbage and does absolutely no good. I am suprised and disappointed that this blog allows comments like that, especially when I make admittedly snarky comments about people trying to blame everything on Shiller that don't get posted.

    There was much more widespread poverty in Uptown before Shiller ever set foot in the place. There is a legitimate argument that Uptown home owners THEMSELVES brought about an influx of homeless people and the agencies that try to help them when they created REST shelter. So in a way, homeless people and services are a legacy of Uptown property owners themselves, not any alderperson. My guess is you did not live here back then.

    The stuff about the poor people having a fundementally different moral code than well off people and their need to change that to escape poverty is also garbage. Self serving self righteous garbage at that.

    The fundamental difference between those living in poverty and those well off (besides money) is that those living in poverty have a much tougher life, face more obstacles and have to work harder to survive with far less resources and support than rich people to do so. This can affect the decisions that they make and certainly the decisions they have to make (how many middle or upper class people are confronted with the decision whether to steal or not so that they might have something to eat?)

  22. WCE says, "I think the biggest issue is that poor people have a different morality that middle class/rich people, and thats the fundamental reason that they're locked in a cycle of poverty."

    I disagree; poverty is more complicated than a question of individual moral failure.

    On another note, though, I would like to point out that Uptowners spend an awful lot of time discussing such issues on our blog. What do people in Lincoln Park, the Goldcoast and Wicker Park, for example, discuss on their neighborhood blogs, if they have them? Not this stuff again and again for sure. We've got issues and a variety of perspectives here, for sure, but the one thing that can't be said about us is that we go through days or weeks as if "the poor/the homeless/the drug-addicted" don't exist like some folks do. That is one of the reasons why the NIMBY accusation whenever applied to Uptown---and especially by people who don't live here---really pisses me off.

  23. Not to take sides - but Shiller isn't exactly keen on new development in Uptown unless she gets a "donation" to her campaign fund or demands that it contain some sort of subsidized housing. A lot of the developments (condos, small amount of retail, revitalization) happened due to market conditions in the late 90s - mid 2000's. She can't take the credit for all that. She stalled what she could, but couldn't stop it totally.

    I don't know that she wants Uptown to be the northern ghetto, but I know she only listens to those who support her views and it seems she wants every undeveloped piece of land or vacant building in Uptown to have subsidized housing within it. It appears that she is trying to replace every low income unit lost in Uptown and turn back the clock to the early 1970's. It may make her feel like Robin Hood to preserve/build more affordable housing (a term she uses loosely) buy raping taxpayers with TIF's but to inundate an area with it is not good urban planning. It helps no one - rich or poor.

  24. re: Kevin @ 1:42. What you say regarding REST Shelter is interesting. Some people want to forget that Uptown has long been the home to a pretty progressive crowd. Shiller, a community activist, got voted in over a machine candidate in no small part because a % of local progressive property owners rejected a machine politician. O.N.E. used to include the block clubs in their membership and Helen used to meet with the block clubs. In my view, Uptown has struggled and is struggling with how to make a difference without collapsing under the weight of the overwhelming need for some of the things we offer here. Its a question of sustainable balance because some good things actually do come from having owner-occupants and thriving businesses in a neighborhood. :) The problem for Helen is that these people and businesses seem to have their own ideas about what they want and don't take kindly to being told to sit down and shut up. Building consensus is definitely not Shiller's forte.

  25. Sassy, I would agree with you about Shiller's problems with building consensus and I do think she should and could do a better job of reaching out to and engaging with All of her constituents. And I do think those opposed to her could do a better job of controlling their vitrol for her and be a bit more objective with her. There definitely seems to exist an irrational hatred among many Uptowners for Shiller. Sometimes UU seems as objective as Fox News when it comes to Shiller.

  26. Kevin, it says "News and Commentary" on UU - not "fair and balanced," like Fox claims **cough**.

    If you want to read laudatory things about Ald. Shiller, go to or We give her praise when praise is due. Unfortunately, it so rarely is.

  27. Kevin, it is rather curious that Uptown is highlighted as a community that is polarized and ripe with anger about their alderman.

    Here are possible ideas for this intense anger:
    a. People who move to Uptown tend to have hated all politicians long before they moved here and moving here gives them their much anticipated platform to yell and scream.

    b. Soon after moving here, the condo owners were exposed to some chemical that caused hatred toward Helen.

    c. All condo owners who move to Uptown are naturally selfish NIMBYs who hate poor people and only focused on their property values. No exceptions allowed. On the other hand, condo owners in all other Chicago neighborhoods are generally pretty good people and strong Democrats as well.

    d. Helen's people's skills stink and her views about iliciting community involvement are a joke.

    Kevin, do you think maybe her people's skills have something to do with this? Really, have you ever heard of another ward that was so disgusted with their alderman where numerous blogs were created just to criticize her? Name one, just one.

  28. Holy moly, that was so funny. Reading Uptown Update, I have been falling off my chair a lot this afternoon! :)

  29. There is a legitimate argument that Uptown home owners THEMSELVES brought about an influx of homeless people...

    ...(how many middle or upper class people are confronted with the decision whether to steal or not so that they might have something to eat?)

    It's comments like these that give liberals a bad name, and I do consider myself a liberal. I just don't believe in A) blaming myself for society's ills, and B) making excuses for every piece of walking garbage...

    So tell me, Kevin: do you really believe this drivel? That the Black P Stones, Conservative Vice Lords, Latin Kings and 4-Corner Hustlers are all out there making poor decisions (i.e. gun fights, selling hard drugs, vandalism, etc.) and the drug addicts are breaking into cars so they can feed themselves and their families???

    Give me a break. Jesus Christ himself would have a hard time swallowing that one...

  30. Demonsentcrooks....regarding my comment about homeowners in Uptown bringing an influx of homeless...There has been a line of reasoning appearing often on this website that 'outside' social service agencies coming to Uptown are responsible for bringing so many homeless to Uptown. My point was that homeless services in Uptown began with the opening of REST shelter, which was established by Uptown residents themselves in response to a need they saw in their community. Therefore it could be reasoned that Uptown residents started this (and the Uptown residents I am referring to are not the newer condo residents, but the homeowners that were here DECADES ago who established REST shelter).

    And yes, people get into selling drugs to provide for themselves. And yes, that includes food and clothing, but as it is also includes tricked out Escalades and designer duds. I am not saying that is right, only pointing out that maybe some young kid growing up in an unstable home, receiving poor parenting, attending crappy schools, and confronted with a very violent community through no fault of their own, may not have the same economic opportunities or have been nurtured to be pro-social in their behavior as, say, someone who grew up in a stable middle class family with good schooling and guidance in a more violence free community.

    And dude, you are way off. I am not blaming ANYONE or making ANY excuses for someone pursuing the gang life. I am just saying how it is. Some of us are luckier than others.

  31. holey moley...I have made the point and agreed with the point that Shiller's people skills have something to do with the opposition to her.

  32. Hey, Kevin. It seems that you have gotten a little bit of UU "hazing" over the past few days. I think you have an interesting perspective to contribute so I hope you don't get scared away and you do stick around. Uptowners tend to have some strongly held opinions but its because they care deeply about this place.

  33. Sassy, thanks. I am motivated to post here to try to provide a different perspective and to challenge peoples' beliefs. I think it is good for all of us to have our thoughts and beliefs challenged with a different point of view or additional information. As you can probably tell, I think some of the thoughts and beliefs expressed here are a little too one sided, so I want to provide a balance (I read about a recent study which showed that people who hold beliefs on the extreme right or left only become more rigid in those beliefs when they are among like minded people -so I suppose people on the extreme right who only watch Fox news and listen to Rush and Hannity are forever hopeless). And I don't mind at all people bringing the heat on me. I can be a rather fiesty at times so it motivates me. Whatever, I will continue to strive to keep and open mind and think critically and hope others do the same.