Saturday, January 8, 2011

Uptown Residents Fear Gang War Brewing

This screen grab from the report shocks even us.  All this in one small area in just ten weeks.


  1. Gang war brewing???? Has it finally become apparant to anyone else?

  2. I think a gang war has been brewing for a couple years now. Election time is also brewing and as I was going through the Q&A for the canidates it seems that Mr. Carrol appears to have a strong stance on the topic of crime compared to the rest. Anyone have more insight on him as far as other concerns in our community?

  3. ah.....yeah
    When I moved into this 'pioneer' neighborhood in 1991, I always had blind faith in my alderman.......nearly 20 years later, chaos abounds. She has dropped the ball, big time.

  4. very interesting...
    i just moved here and thought this place has a lot of potential in terms of location. whats the difference from lakeview or east lincoln park and such and in terms of location.

    i just hope change will come and make this community a better place to live for everyone.

  5. And in other news, it's starting to get cold outside...

  6. We didn't even get a kiss or cab fare home....

  7. Fantastic story. I'm really impressed with how Mr. Chamraz ignored the same tired narratives that have controlled Uptown reporting for so many years. It's refresing to not hear that complaints of crime in Uptown are some sort of race/class warfare. It's great to hear someone finally say out loud that gang members are still living in public housing (after last month's weepy coverage of the closing of the last Cabrini tower, I thought we were all supposed to believe that only sympathetic mothers lived in public housing). And I just loved that he didn't mollycoddle Helen. She didn't want to talk? Fine. He just said that, and didn't dig up Deniece Davis' son to suggest things have gotten better. Thank you for a new, more accurate style of reporting Mr.Chamraz.

  8. "...the towers came down and the gang members were put in the CHA scattered site housing around the city."

    If true, CHA has some explaining to do. CHA is not supposed to house people with a criminal record, period. They play the game of saying that the gang members are "not on the lease," but know full well that the gang members do, in fact, reside there with others who ARE on the lease.

    Section 8 is not intended to be "last resort" housing, despite the feelings of some activists in the Uptown community. It is intended to be for law abiding citizens who happen to be low income. By allowing this trend to continue, it destroy's CHA's credibility with the community to the point that funding will be questioned and cut until eventually none will have CHA housing, law abiding or not.

    My bigger concern at Magnolia and Montrose is the large concentration of "Voice of the People" housing. They appear to see themselves as "last resort" housing, placing people who CHA will not.

    Another concern is the blind eye that JPUSA seems to turn toward their residents, even to the point of having a needle exchange program stop in front of the day care center weekly.

    Another concern is Mercy Housing, Heartland Alliance and others, whose large corporations and organizations have difficulty managing the criminal elements and therefore face problems of their own.

    News stories like this one on Fox are bad news for ALL of Chicago's social services. It erodes community confidence and drives funding away.

    If you ask me, it is time for Chicago's social service organizations to brave stepping forward with some honesty to help the rest of us address the "problem services" before EVERYONE loses funding.

  9. I am a resident of Mercy Housing. A large corporation you say? Ala Wal-Mart?

    We are here to stay regardless of who the next alderman is, we have rights, and we have friends.

    We are reaching out as residents to work with our community as I have been posting.

    YOU have allies within your "concerned properties" should you choose to reach back. And only IF you reach back as a individuals and as a community.

    Your comment was less than that ZM, however your just one person as so am I.

    Otherwise we going to go the Housing Court and Police route only....its going take a while to say the very least.

    I welcome my neighbors thoughts by email or in person at one or all of our Aldermanic forums.


    Jeffrey Littleton

  10. If you want to know the aldermanic candidate most cops support just ask your local CPD officer. I talk to the beat cops whenever I run into one (when they aren't rushing to a homicide) and most mention one specific candidate.

    It wasn't who I expected but he or she will definitely be getting my vote.

    But to be fair the cops most often go with a variation of "Well I would never have moved to this neighborhood in the first place, but if I did live here..."

  11. Yes, there were a lot of decent poor people in the high rises, but also a whole BUNCH of criminals who were exported by cha into neighborhoods all over the area, just bringing their criminal attitudes with them. Destabilizing decent(white, black and hispanic) neighborhoods all over the Chicago area. As un-p.c. as it sounds, better when they were all in one place. When I was younger, uptown was a rough and tumble place to say the least,unfortunately the new breed of thugs seem to want to return it to that way.

  12. As one of the interviewees in this piece, I personally think that the formula of "CHA high-rises coming down = gang violence in Uptown" is simplified at best and misleading at worst (although, that argument could be completely legitimate in other parts of the city, like Chatham as Steve mentioned -- I don't know). Uptown has had violence ever since the great depression wiped out the wealth in the area from the roaring 20s. During the 70s and 80s, this place was hellish to live in (this was actually the perspective I was trying to give when I talked about shots before my wedding 7 years ago).

    No question that there has been an uptick in gang violence the past couple years, but that can be attributed to any number of factors other than a CHA reorg (e.g., the CPD shakeup/strategy a few years back, the sheer number of gangs in the area fighting over limited turf, more brazen leadership in the wake of reduced cops on the street, the bad economy, etc.).

    Anyway -- there are a lot of lengthy, wonkish discussions that can be had about why things are the way they are and what to do about them, but they probably wouldn't pay the bills for the local news channels. :)

    Glad Steve was able to shine the spotlight on our neck of the woods, but change can only happen from community involvement -- from electing an alderman that can best tackle this issue, to being involved in community policing (CAPS) to getting plugged into your local groups, like block clubs or non-profits that are making a difference, to doing smaller daily things like positive loitering and patronizing local businesses. Clearly, root issues such as generational poverty, the war on drugs policy, and education reform, among many others, are much tougher nuts to crack.

  13. Un-Bias, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr.Carroll last summer for the first time and I contiue to be impressed with what he can bring to our ward. I love the fact that he is a cop and deals with gang issues day in and day out. I am also very impressed with his educational background. I know he is big on cleaning up the el stations, adding elevators for the handicap. He is also aware that in order to get more business to invest in this area that Crime must be cleaned up first. I know he is a huge advocate for afterschool programs to keep young kids off the streets and helping provide them with a poitive influence/guidance.

    Usually PC - I couldnt agree more. Great Media coverage with accurate information.

  14. "Regarding the CHA, Jadine has been absolutely great to deal with and has been quite proactive on doing their best to keep their properties clean."

    This is good news, Ken. It was a very short time ago that HRC managed the Uptown scattered site properties. (that are no longer managed by HRC, by the way) HRC shied away from addressing crime & gang issues. Hopefully, the new managers will do better by them.

    From what I understand, HRC had been "burned" by a local politically-connected lawyer who would represent gang member eviction cases in court, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in court penalties to HRC. The cost made enforcement of the lease rules almost prohibitive. This is a shame, because honest residents were forced to feel helpless and trapped, fearful of reprocussions if they spoke up about crime in their buildings.

    The police and also Meg Gillman (with the city's Gang & Drug Task Force) indicated that they found it difficult to work with HRC directly about crime issues. Since one entity (CHA) is government-related, the police also refrained from crossing that boundary into another government entity's "territory" without explicit invitation, which was tough to come by.

    True, Ken, there are simple measures each of us can take to reduce local crime. If you look around, however, the community HAS been doing those things, without success. Positive loitering events are scheduled on almost a weekly basis. Ordinary citizens post video footage on YouTube and other social media. Phone calls are placed to 911, etc.

    Don't forget, a "safe Trick or Treat" event held by a local block club was interrupted by gunfire in the midst of children just this past October.

    Hope is an ally, but so is truth.

    Again, it is my opinion that Chicago social services need to find a way to be honest about their challenges, so we can all work together to solve them. Isolation and denial only breeds mistrust. Isolation and denial hasn't worked for Alderman Shiller and it isn't likely to work for Chicago's social services, either.

  15. @ Robert.. if Carroll was so concerned about crime perhaps he could have shown up at a couple of the CAPS meetings that are held literally across the street from his campaign headquarters. The last one, Carroll , et al WERE HAVING A STAFF HOLIDAY PARTY INSTEAD OF ATTENDING THE CAPS MEETING ACROSS THE STREET... and oh yea, I walked by his campaign office an hour or so ago.. so two screens with Uptown Update on .. so maybe you should identify yourself with being with the campaign instead of pretending you are some random resident.. busted!

  16. "Mercy Loan Fund is a $38 million non-profit corporation, affiliated with Mercy Housing, and certified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). It is a 25-year-old national affordable and community housing lender that has made 420 loans totaling $190 million, leveraging $11.4 billion with 16,500 units developed."

    - from Mercy Housing's web site:

  17. I stand by my previous comment.

    Any suggestions of how we the residents of Mercy Housing can can help are appreciated. Contact me directly, easy to do so or attewnd one or all of the forums and ask before or after. The Aldermanic Forums are about OUR Uptown after all.

    @ ZM

    For an non-profit organization that serves as many people as Mercy Housing does that sounds about right.

    Beyond that I don't know what to say. Whats your point?

  18. @Jeffrey, Mercy Housing has many allies in the Uptown community, including myself. Personally, I have no issue with a big corporation providing affordable housing alternatives, as long as they are good neighbors. I, like many, CHOSE to live in an economically-diverse community.

    Not always, but there have been times that Mercy Housing buildings have had challenging crime problems and neighbors as well as residents in the buildings themselves were able to work together with building managers and Mercy Housing leadership to successfully address those issues.

    My point?

    Poorly-run social services harm the reputation of ALL social services. The average person, much like the Fox investigative reporter in this story, often make generalizations that are difficult for the well-run social services to rise above. Ignoring this problem in our social discourse threatens the future of ALL social service funding, not just the funding of the "problem services."

    Social Services, by nature, need community support. That support is eroded when uncontrollable crime is associated with public housing.

  19. Michael, just want to say thanks for the insight. Due to the fact I work flex shift I'm unable to attend any of the fourms thus far so i'm feeling sort of confused with who would be the better candidate.
    As far as criminal element? It's always going to be around. It's in all neighborhoods, from rich to poor, black to white and everything in between. We need a change of venue so to say and in turn uptown will be a better place for ALL of us to live. We are rich in diversity and culture so with that being said I'll place my vote with whom I see best fit to do the job. I'm not going anywhere, I made it this far I'll stay to see different results for the better.

  20. @ ZM

    Any specific suggestions?

    I can say at the VERY least Mercy Housing is by no means part of the gang problem that this TV news story was covering. Does anybody agree/disagree? If so why?

    Specifics only, please. I still stand by my original comment, we are trying to reach out.

    Jeffrey Littleton

  21. Sorry for the mix up in names Robert

  22. Un-Bia...Hmmm, we may have a troll for candidate Nowotny trying to split the Cappleman bid... Un-bias, trying to say they are supporting Carroll.. has THIS in their BLOG...

    "I have been in the Uptown community for many years now and I have seen a lot of progression for the better. Years ago Alderman Shiller worked with a gentleman by the name of Slim Coleman.Togeather great changes were made"

    Now, I do not mean to speak for Mr. Carroll, but I would be SHOCKED and AMAZED if he supported anything Helen or Coleman did together... nice try though. I am glad to see the trolling has reached a higher level.. will be more fun to catch them!

  23. I am NOT anti shiller. Her tenure is over. I AM for change. Again, thanks Robert for the insight. The rest? Dosnt dignify a rebuttle.

  24. You mean Slime Coleman! I mean the Rev. Slime Coleman! You've got to be kidding!!!!

  25. RE: Mr. Littletons reaching out. Seems > like insincerity unfortunately, for asking in such an repelling style. Wonder if, in his first set of comments, he's speaking of the Executive order Obama signed Nov. 17, 2010 for immediate release. This was on order on faith based reform funds. Suppose clock is running out since 120 days were stipulated. Maybe there is more info needed for the decions to be made, for the people in effect, and image's sake.

    God Bless You

  26. @ Rejected Mop.....

    What are you smoking? I got not the slightest idea what your talking about.

    Yes this is being held in a church building, but so what. This is not a church service just in case anyone else was wondering.

    Obama? Executive order?

    Oh boy.

    I still stand by my original comment. We are reaching out to the good people of Uptown, our neighbors, in this case and at this time by organizing these forums as residents in conjunction with the church AND the candidates to provide YOU with a way to learn more. Is that cool? Simple enough?


    Jeffrey Littleton