Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Now? What Next?

As the photos here (taken by a reader) demonstrate, there were so many residents concerned about the safety situation in our community that they were literally spilling onto the streets for Beat 2312's CAPS meeting. What came out of that?

That it's a partnership. The cops can't do it alone. Neither can the community. As one resident said, "These are our streets. We have to use them. They're ours, and we've allowed them to be taken over. Time to take them back."

Some suggestions:

  • Continue to be active in CAPS. It's not a one-shot deal. Get to know the police AND your neighbors, and share your concerns. It works. Next CAPS meeting: Tonight, Beat 2024, at Margate Park Fieldhouse, 7pm. (We list all CAPS events on our calendar on the sidebar to the right.)
  • Positive Loitering! The police commander stayed two hours after the Beat 2312 meeting concluded, and a group positively loitered along Sheridan during that time. Another event is planned for August 28th at 11pm, Wilson and Sheridan. We'll post details as we get them, but please plan to be there. Better us out there with other concerned neighbors than thugs swinging golf clubs and bricks.
  • A police officer was injured last Wednesday in the fracas. A strong showing of community support when his case goes to trial would be very effective. Details will be announced here when the charges are finalized and the court date is set.
  • Stay vigilant. Be aware of what's going on, and tell everyone you can! Remember, this entire attention-getting week was started when an Uptown resident got fed up, took a video of what had been going on right outside his front door, and posted it online.
  • Be willing to sign police reports and go to court. A woman told the story of being harassed by an aggressive panhandler at Clifton & Wilson. She felt unsafe and called 911. When the police got there, she signed a complaint against the woman who had threatened her, and went to court (if she hadn't, the case would have been thrown out). The harasser served two days in jail. While that may not seem like much, if everyone did that when confronted by aggressive and abusive folks on our streets, we think that particular behavior would lessen considerably.
  • The Uptowners in the 20th District, just north of the 23rd, already do positive loitering along Sheridan Road. A suggestion was made that the 23rd District coordinate the same dates for positive loitering, so Sheridan is one continuous row of residents taking back their streets.

For more about the CAPS meeting, and what happened, and what will happen, check out the coverage in the Lake Effect News:

Keeping Up the Momentum... and

...Putting On the Heat


  1. Great post. One of the most succint and informative so far on this subject. Good job.

  2. The big question for me is, will Ald. Shiller continue to send representatives to CAPS meetings? Will her office be willing to work with the community and the police on crime? If so, great - nice about-face. If the two ladies only show up once - because of all the press - then their trip was totally and utterly useless.

    We need cooperation, not lip service. Next meeting in Shiller's beat is 2311, on Tuesday, September 1. Right around the corner from Shiller's office. Will representatives be there?

  3. Great post. Remember ALWAYS give your name and number when calling 911. It helps in getting the best service possible. Call anonymously and don't expect great police responce.

    I have said this in numerous posts.
    Sign complaints and go to court. Use the law to take back the neighborhood.

  4. Does anybody have any knowledge about some police activity that I witnessed last night as I got off the Wilson stop? I'm curious as to what happened.

    Walking west on the south side of Wilson, a police officer ran by me and headed south down the alley that is one block east of Magnolia. Shortly after, a squad car flew down that alley as well. At least two more squads came from the west and headed south down Magnolia. There was also a paddy wagon parked outside of Starbucks that headed south.

    Roughly 5 minutes later as I was in my living room further down Wilson, an ambulance flew down Wilson heading westbound (maybe a coincidence).

    Any info would be much appreciated.

  5. Heard on WBBM today that more police will be put on the streets after midnight, because of the attacks up and down Halsted. There did not mention the riots on Sheridan however.

  6. "Boehmer praised the Uptown community’s strong CAPS program and residents’ willingness to work with police in problem solving, saying that it was 'the best community in the world to work with.'"

    So how can we be the same people who Helen has such a difficult time with and can't return phone calls or attend public meetings to discuss the issues with?

    Just my opinion, but seems to me the people who follow through with what they say they are going to do have a lot less problems dealing with the people who live in this neighborhood. Maybe start with that Helen! For example, if your office says they will call you back MAKE SURE THEY RETURN THE PHONE CALL.

  7. I think we need to keep the heat on Shiller. I know that the protest on Monday was supposed to be peaceful, but we got loud - and it worked. We need to do it again. The media coverage would have been minimal had we not interrupted her. Our point was made - loud and clear. We are fed up with her inaction and now most of the city knows about it. Heck, we even got national coverage!

  8. amb506 -- was that around 7last night? I saw two cop cars at the north end (Sunnyside) of that alley, but I couldn't tell what was going on (I am a block north, and was looking from my window)

  9. Upcoming Uptown volunteer projects (via Chicago Cares) in case anyone is interested:

  10. Frankly I think it's a cop out when Shiller can't attend meetings herself and sends people from her office.

    It's funny I know for a fact Tunney is very involved in his ward with all types of meetings and events.

    Same goes for Brenden Reilly. He has meet and greet all the time and is very accessible.

    Shiller wasn't elected so she could sent others in her place. She has the power in the council she needs to be there. Not her so called staff.

  11. nmf-Thanks so much for posting the link to Chicago Cares. You've inspired me to find opportunities to volunteer in my community. The "orientation" took about 3 minutes to complete online and gave me access to hundreds of volunteer opportunities, including many right here in Uptown. I encourage everyone else to use this week's momentum to also find time in their schedule to get out and participate positively with members of the community they may be unfamiliar with. It would be harder for Helen Shiller to play "us vs. them" if we spent more time working with the groups she claims "we" are trying to disinfrancise.

  12. Lets be honest here. They will pass whatever they want as far as new TIFF's and the fact that we are all invited in writing is to cover their tracks. The same goes for CAPS meetings. Even if Shiller showed she wouldn't do anything more than just be there.

    Unfortunately folks, the only way we can get things done is to use the media. King Richie doesn't like this bad press. AT ALL. He has one thing on his mind and the national spotlight that little old Uptown has had for the past week and a half ain't good for it.

    You wanna know what is the best thing to do. Keep the media involved in everything Shiller is actually doing. Use your cameras. Call the police. Call Helen's office and tape your response. I am sure the media would love to hear how her staff treats her constituents. We learned a very valuable lesson with that video of the gang melee. The media is interested in the circus....and we have the Ringling Bros right smack dab in the middle of Uptown.

  13. Since Helen Shiller is difficult to find I have created something that may hone our skills during the occasional times she may actually be around.

    I call it Wheres Helen.

    Also if the Alderman's legal team is looking at these posts please note where I posted this so once you send out some subpoenas, which I HIGHLY recommend, you'll have another place to send one.

  14. I used to volunteer with Chicago Youth Programs in Uptown. Loved it.

  15. Round up the trucks. We're taking the circus to City Hall. Elephants and Donkeys together.

  16. To everyone posting about the Police activity at Magnolia and Wilson last night at 7 it was due to a stolen car. The guys stole a car, ditched it in the alley, and ran in to one of the Sect. 8 houses. You should have seen the P Stones scatter like someone turned on a light switch.

  17. chip's back!! haven't seen you on the blog in a bit...

  18. Sorry I was on vacation. Relaxing. Imagine my surprise to come home and see video of riots and news of shootings.

    Not to fear, I did attend the Truman protest. Fantastic event.

    I was with a police officer yesterday when the guys ditched the car.

    My theory? Even the P Stones want to be involved in "Cash for Clunkers."

  19. ...before the Monday night deadline!

  20. Hey Chip, did you hear what ended up happening?

    I was watching the cops swarm around the Racine/sunnyside buildings like hound dogs with a squirrel up a tree....
    Then they just left...?

    The young "club members" were in the building-I saw them scurry away later. Maybe the cops needed something more? I don't profess to understand burden of proof/what leads to arrests, but it stinks to see all that quick response by the police and then seems like nothing comes of it. Must be frustrating for them, to say the least.

  21. 4:30 PM this afternoon - about 15 gang kids at corner of Malden and Leland with bats/clubs looking for trouble. Police came - they scattered. Not sure what happened. This situation is not getting better.

  22. Well, at least the cops are getting there and scattering them before trouble begins. That's a good thing.

    At this point, just making it uncomfortable for them in our neighborhood is fine. They never know when they'll be on Candid Camera.

    Strongly recommend filming from a safe location whenever a "convention" begins!

  23. Oh, and people are calling the cops at the first sign of trouble. Another good thing.

    It's the gangbangers' idea of hell: lots of eyes on them, people who aren't afraid to call 911, and cameras. Lots and lots of cameras. Some of them from the media.


  24. The type of display at 4:30 today was NOT a bunch of kids going to baseball practice. If you witness this type of situation, stay safe and call 911. If the police come EVERY TIME they gather, they might get the hint. Also, I recommend purchasing a FLIP HD video camera. They sell them at Costco and other places for around 179 bucks, they are simple to use, and no bigger than the palm of your hand. Cells phones, cameras, partnerships, and caring are all nice weapons against gangs.

  25. was leaving Truman today sometime after 4 pm and was driving past Soggy Paws... saw a group of young guys walking down Leland looking suspicious and noticed one had a brick in his hand... swung back around Broadway where I had seen 2 police cars and let them know what was going on. They both immediately headed to Leland to investigate. Not sure what happened next as I wasn't too anxious to drive through it...

  26. great job Sarah! I echo TSN. We need to be ON ALERT. All the 1000s of us who read UU need to be on alert and have 911 ready to be dialed. I'd say I've honestly called 911 AT LEAST 3x a week for the past 2 months. The police are here now... let's keep them here. Don't get soft.

  27. Uptown, Edgewater and Rogers Park have to work in conjunction to assure that we have a voice and say we are supporting our police in a manner that has not happened since I was born and raised here on the North side.

    The police are not perfect and the gangs don't care who is collateral damgae. We are in the middle, I pick the police.

  28. What's next?

    Replacing Shiller won't do much.

    As long as we are stuck tolerating bad behaviors (as we have been taught since the late 60's), not much can be done.

    The police are stuck too. As soon as they try to do policing, the liberals work to undermine them with brutality charges.

    The criminal is deemed a victim and the real victims are mostly forgotten. This cycle goes on over and over again.

    The police used to take care of the smaller crimes that lead to bigger crimes but they can't anymore.

    It's all a nasty cycle.

  29. AL, That's NOT the spirit! (she says grabbing her pom pons...)

    What you say has merit, but thinking like this hasn't gotten us very far.

    Yes, status quo is difficult re: limits on police.
    Because of this, change is going to have to be gradual.

    The cops still do have tools and knowledge. If we (residents) get them (cops) the information about where crime is going down, they can still make arrests. If we sign complaints, they can make more arrests.

    Lets play this scenario out like a logical progression...

    The more we are aware of crime and call it in, the more opportunities cops have to arrest our problem children. They are (unfortunately) now experts in how to protect themselves from lawsuits and do their job to appease "rights" of criminals. The more arrests cops feel inclined/backed up to do, the more criminals get sent before a judge. The more we go to court as concerned citizens, the more likely a judge is to put some thought in his sentencing. The more often the judge makes crime costly, the more likely the cops are to keep arresting people (because now it's worth their effort) AND the more likely the criminals are to seek out safer rocks to crawl under.

    If I knew how to post a flow chart to illustrate this progression of change, I would. Then I would distribute it, with at least 1 picture of a hooker so the pirate could pay attention...

  30. It may be a cycle, but it must come to an end, and I believe its time has come. People are recognizing that the REAL victims have been silenced, and they (we) are all FED THE HECK UP.

    Time to end this cycle guys. Who's with me?

  31. ABecky, you said "People are recognizing that the REAL victims have been silenced."


    But nothing can change until people decide to start NOT tolerating the bad behaviors that lead to worse behaviors.

    This is how Gulianai worked to clean up NYC. He went after petty crimes and behaviors so the old fashioned tools like shame would start working again.

    It starts with the small behaviors.

    We need to come out and start judging the bad behaviors and not tolerating them - at least enough to make the neighborhood livable.

    It's up to the PEOPLE to decide what to tolerate but tolerating everything leads to disaster.

  32. Unfortunately, the police haven't responded AT ALL to the majority of these situations, included requests to see the videos I have--which , by the way, are ten times worse than the one that the gentleman sent in, until the media put a spotlight on it. Anyone who says differently, didn't deal with what my building has every day for the past year and a half-including gunfire in the middle of the day--so we can do community walks all we want--but without police protection--nothing is going to save us from random gunfire. The last time I walked into the middle of a gang war out with my video camera, in order to show the police on the scene (who only showed after a man was taken in an ambulance after his head was smashed in with a brick)-because writing to the district and calling to view them didn't get a response, 17 gang members from the next block threatened my life in front of two detectives who told me their not allowed to do anything about it, so they had to take me in their car for two hours. They didn't want to view the video. I missed two hours of online editing work while gang members took over my streets. I live alone, and after that situation, I will never try to get involved again given that I had no police protection. If someone wants to view my videos and put them online, they are more than welcome.

  33. Emily: (1) Post 'em on YouTube or Vimeo. (2) Call or email or make an appointment with the Commander. She always makes a point of saying they review situations to see where there can be improvement. If you feel you've got evidence that puts Joe Gray's to shame, share it with her and find out why the detective responded the way s/he did.

    Simply saying "I've got shocking video" doesn't change anything. Put it out there and let it be seen.

    Al: This is a blog dealing with Uptown and its issues, good and bad. It's not the place for rants about national politics. We're looking for simple solutions we can implement right here, right now, not pointing fingers at big situations we can't control.

  34. emily, the police cannot get involved like they used to years ago.

    It's just impossible because they are under attack. If a cop touches one of these "kids", the police are in trouble. Even when they see someone doing something illegal, it has to be proven.

    Regardless, the criminal justice system forces the police to release people and then the person is fed, rested and ready to rumble again.

    If a cop did touch the person, a lawyer is ready to start suing the city. The city will settle for $10 to 20 grand and the criminal comes out ahead!

    Caring Neighbor, I know what you are saying, but I disagree. This isn't national politics, it's all around us. As long as people tolerate bad behaviors that lead to worse behaviors, don't expect much to change. The police are reactive and not proactive precisely because of some of these issues.

  35. Caring neighbor--thanks for the tip about utube--can this be traced back to my identity?
    I have spoken to the commander, after having written directly to her 4 times, requestin a review of my videos. She stated that she had to go to a meeting, but that she would have someone call me back. This did not happen. This is, mind you, after 7 attemps last year to request a viewing by the station with the same run-around. I called 911 and requested that the police stop up after the drive by in front of our unit last year. I called through the station and requested to meet or come down to the station. I was told it was "illegal" to tape out of my window. This year, after talking to the commander, as well as sending 4 e-mails, my neighbors and I sent in an official "Community Concern" request to the 23d district, which is supposed to go through proper channels that one can check on to determine the investigative status at the department. Before they even hit SUBMITTED status, they were wiped off of the system. I wrote the department to ask why--no response. Could it be that I predicted something horrible was about to go down, and automatic gunfire was shot in front of my window just days later at 11 AM FRIDAY JULY 3, just seconds before I was to be in its path-on my way to the cubs game.

  36. And Al--I'm one of your so called "liberals" I guess--but that's what's wrong with labeling-I say-you're old enough to point a gun at someone-you're old enough to be locked up--No more second chances=you want to live like a thug-than die like one. No excuses.

    As far as the police--Al-I've heard the same thing-they've told me that they can't do anything with the gangs for fear of lawsuit and Daley not backing them up--but how much of this is taking that fear overboard--I'm an attorney and I know that no civil of police brutality is going to go forward merely becasue an officer tells a group of people grabbing someone's shirt and threatening their life in front of the officers, to go home, versus making the victim hide out. I'm sure a lot of it is merely a lack of motivation that has come from a feeling of a lack of support. So there are many factors, certainly. But we aren't going to change anything if we ignore that Schiller has been a problem, the police unhappiness and lack of motivation is a problem, and not getting the correct information about what is going on in terms of the fact that without a spotlight on the entire situation, we really had nothing on our side. Thanks to this young man who ws brave enough to show his face, we are already seeing incremental change.

  37. Here's an idea. Strap CCTV cameras onto the condos. Get with your condo association for the funds. That way if you're not there, the footage will be. We can make a channel on youtube. I like the way "Uptown Beat Down" sounds as a channel but it's just a suggestion. I think that'd draw some attention after a while. The trick will be making sure faces are caught in the video. The kids may dig being posted on youtube if their faces can not be seen as they would be anon. But I'm sure they would be thinking twice about committing a crime in the area if you can clearly see and identify them. I'm all about personal privacy and I hate having to suggest that, but if I have to choose between being caught on camera or becoming another statistic, I'll choose the camera any day of the week.

  38. Emily- You can put them up on Vimeo completely anonymously. Create a new email address on gmail or the like, and use that to link to your vimeo/youtube profile. PLEASE POST THEM. We need to keep them coming. Videos like Joe Gray's and the ones taken on Clifton, need to be continually shown.

  39. But nothing can change until people decide to start NOT tolerating the bad behaviors that lead to worse behaviors.

    That "broken windows theory has been discussed here over and over and most people agree that alerting police to the "small" things is important (graffiti, loitering, urinating in alleys, guys setting up shop on street corners illegally, etc.). And as for "tolerating", I don't think anyone has been tolerating anything here, as the post from the past week or so (or longer) indicates. The rallies? The filled-to-capacity CAPS meeting? Where do you get the idea that people need to stop tolerating anything here?

  40. Emily...have you considered sending your video to the local TV stations? Considering their recent interest in the videotaped happenings in Uptown, you're video would seem to be of great interest to them. Did Ch. 2's Dorothy Tucker do the original story based on the other video? Why not send it to her? Or maybe one of the other stations wants to play catch-up and get in on the story. I;m sure they'd love the video. Posting it on a public video site like YouTube or something is great, but it doesn't guarantee that the news media will see it too.

    Also, isn't CNN doing something on Chicago violence? Man, that station LOVE getting free video from anyone, that "caught on tape" stuff and they'll run it ASAP.

    CNN's Crime In Chicago series

  41. There's really not much the the police can do with private citizens previously videotaped activity. I appreciate everyone's enthusiasm but it's not much help after the fact and it would be difficult to present that as evidence in a court of law. I think this issue came up at the last CAPS meeting.

  42. I appreciate everyone's enthusiasm but it's not much help after the fact

    I think it would be helpful as far as determining a pattern for both the violent behavior experienced in Uptown, as well as a certain public officials seeming lack of interest in curbing gang violence.

  43. If you have video but are wary of posting it with your name attached to it, please contact me.

    brennan - at -

  44. emily please publish the video, we need to keep a presence but safe.

    there are 2 parts to the equation when dealing with gangs, prevention and removal.

    As liberals we all are for prevention, family betterment and promoting education, but we also have to deal with the removal of gangs on our streets.

    Who the heck doesn't want young black youth to succeed, why wouldn't we, but black gang recruiters could care less if they go to prison or die.

    The gangs don't care about being PC, when a liberal white voice speaks we are threathen. We have the right to have a voice, it is the 21st century, we can be shot and killed, we get a voice and on the removal side of the equation we can not take into consideration the family background, we must just concentrate on the removal component and frankly its not about PC. It doesn't mean we are racist or any false tags we hear, but yes we are angry and won't take this crap anymore and we know to support the police.

    The gangs don't care about collateral damage.

    Black and latin men/gangs have murdered over 100 black/latin children in 1 yr 8 months, that is not something that we should ever tolerate.

    Be angry and remove the gangs from our street.

    Don't let another child be murdered.

  45. The gangs don't care about being PC, when a liberal white voice speaks we are threathen.

    I think when ANYBODY speaks out against the gangs they are threatened, regardless of race.

  46. To all questions above--I have contacted all of the local news media regarding the videos-have not heard back--It could be because I stated I did not wish to be identified. I am a single firl living alone. The gangs on my street already know that I have called the police on them and have tried to get involved. I was reviewing the number of letters that I sent to 23d district about the crime on my street, and the chance to talk with someone/show them my information. I have a total of 10 or more. That's not including the Neighborhood Concern our neighbors put in and was wiped off of the system. Oh-and by the way, there was a gang fight outside of my window today at 9:30 AM. I called 911. It is now 11:11 AM. The police still aren't here but the loitering continues.

  47. Emily and others, this will go on and on, like it has in places for decades.

    The police cannot do much. We are dealing with a mindset that has permeated a chunk of the public where...

    a) many behaviors that lead to worse behaviors are supposed to be tolerated,
    b) people are fed up with the resulting violence,
    d) if a cop touches one of these "kids" and the liberals find out, the WHOLE story will turn to how bad the police are,
    e) the violence will continue (and maybe the violence will get worse),
    f) after a few days, the story will flip back to the violence until another incident with a cop happens.

    This is what happened in the inner cities starting in the 60's. It's still going on.

    The videos are great because they bring attention to the problems, but until people wake up about the root issues, not much will be done to stop the problems.

  48. Emily,

    I would recommend sending video directly to the three CBS 2 reporters who have done the recent stories: Kristyn Hartman, Dorothy Tucker or Mike Puccinelli. I don't know if you'll hear back from them or not, but it's worth a try. Although the only reason they started following the story in the first place is because of how much attention the first video received on the internet.

    I'm sure its not an easy decision. I hope you decide to post it. Regardless, take care and stay safe. If your video gets some media attention, the police may be forced to take some action.

  49. The gangs don't care about being PC, when a liberal white voice speaks we are threathen.