Monday, January 31, 2011

Aggressive Panhandler At Wilson L Station

A reader sends in this info:
"I have been a long time reader of your blog and I wanted to update the community and yourself about an aggressive panhandler at the Wilson Stop this evening. The man, a 5 foot 10 male of Hispanic descent was aggressively panhandling at the el stop. He approached me and asked for a dollar and I told him that I was sorry that I did not have money to give him tonight. He continually harassed me for money and began to get in my face and bump my chest asking for money.

All of this happened at around 7 o'clock this evening at the Broadway entrance to the station. After several requests and subsequent denials he make a fist and cocked it backwards as if to punch but then withdrew it and called me a "pussy." My girlfriend and I immediately called the police after another resident offered to give us a ride to our destination.

After leaving us, the panhandler began accosting another person just walking by the stop. The dispatcher said she would let the police know what had happened but 10 minutes later we took a cab home from our destination and noticed that the panhandler was still out front of the station. Luckily the area was desolate of pedestrians. I was hoping to let the community know to stay vigilant and be safe."


  1. I'm glad you called the police.
    "the 46th Ward Office corner"....Wilson and Broadway, is always a challenge to navigate.
    It's sad, but this kind of thing makes me want to avoid anyone I see up here. It's no surprise that we have a lack of new retail here.

  2. Glad you called the police (using 911 and not 311 I hope) and were able to get out of the area safely.

    There are RARELY panhandlers when I get off at Lawrence - Go figure.

    Does anyone know what works in getting rid of these aggressive, threatening people.

    First and foremost, with all the social services agencies in Uptown, I sure hope none of us are giving them money. Second, while I am not qualified to make this determination, I get a sense there are some panhandlers who are mentally ill or otherwise in great need, while others take advantage of the fact that Uptown is the wild west and has been so polarized for so long that no one has the courage or stamina anymore to do anything about their presence.

  3. Sorry to hear of the assault; glad you called the police.

    As a general note (this was new to me until last year), one thing that may help in getting more immediate police response it to specifically tell the 911 dispatcher that you're willing to sign a complaint.

    This means you'd give your name/address, the police would arrest the man and you'd follow through with the courts (this is where court advocacy plays a part, in coming together as a community to help the complainants so they don't have to do this alone:

    Without a citizen complaint, the police's hands are tied as "their peace cannot be disturbed" (i.e., the police can't file a complaint for a citizen). Same goes with loitering, noise, etc. etc.

    Again, very sorry to hear about the aggression, thanks for letting everyone know.

  4. I'm the girlfriend of the person who wrote this and I just spoke to a co-worker who was riding the redline train home last night around 6:30 PM and encountered what seems to be this same man on the train aggressively confronting passengers and trying to steal smartphones.

    The man was in his early to mid twenties and had a shaved head. He was about 240 lbs and was wearing a grey and white plaid jacket with a black hooded sweatshirt underneath. He also looked high out of his mind, which probably helped his brazenness.

    Be careful everyone! Uptown is occasionally a scary place!

  5. I agree I get the sense that the most aggressive panhandlers are mentally ill. I could be part of the problem because I give a buck once in a while. Hopefully, they buy a burger at Mcdonalds.

  6. How is it that people like this always find their way to the Uptown neighborhood? Occasionally I run into a real aggressive guy downtown but they gravitate towards Uptown

  7. It's good to know when it comes to panhandling what is against the law! Good job calling 911. Here is a link for Chicago's Municipal ordinances where you can find 'Agressive Panhandling' if you do use the search field.$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il