Monday, May 23, 2011

Gang Graffiti On Staples (And What We Can Do About It)

A reader sent in several photos of the graffiti on Staples at Clark & Wilson, on the Greenview side, and says: 

"After the shooting at the corner of Ashland and Leland Saturday, I would urge people to be vigilant of gang activity. As the weather gets better I fear we will only see more. There is a gang turf war going on and they are marking their territory like the animals they are. When people see new and old graffiti, report it."

We add:  In addition to calling 311 and reporting it, we urge readers to send photos of any graffiti that is obviously gang-related, as this is, to their local police district.  It helps the gang units to know what gangs are in what areas and throwing down challenges.  In this case, Staples is in the 19th Police District and we forwarded the email to the CAPS office there (  Please do the same if you see anything that's blatantly gang-related, as this is.


  1. Question-what if you record activity, however big or small? I have a small camcorder. Since it doesn't use tape, who do I email it to?

  2. I found out hosting on Vimeo is pretty good for higher quality videos, or Youtube. Build it and they will come

  3. Referring to members of any (any!) group as animals is both ignorant and counter-productive. I live about 300 yards from that graffiti and yes, gang activity is clearly the greatest threat to the well-being of this community. Labeling your enemy as sub-human, however, is the path of fools. Get real. Many of these kids are less than bright. All of them are misguided. None of them are animals.

  4. Will, I will not refer to them as animals, because I happen to like and respect animals.

    I refer to them as terrorists, because they kill each other and don't care who gets in their way. They shot a mother holding her baby. They shot at each other from a car in front of a playlot. They have shot through the windows of several of my friends.

    You can call me heartless because I don't want these terrorists in my neighborhood. The sooner they're gone, the better. I don't care what disadvantages they have and or had. I don't care to understand them. I just want them out of the neighborhood that I've called home for most of my life, and that they are terrorizing.

  5. I hate these particular gang members because they give graffiti a bad name.

    No style, no flow, just an abuse of blank wall space better utilized when it's blank or when a quality artist does work on it.

    (Look up Mental 312 and I DARE you to not think that his symbol maze work wouldn't look GREAT in a lot of areas)

  6. @TrumanSquareNabr - I share your view that these gangs terrorize communities, including ours. I think we have a shared goal of wanting them to stop or leave, because they step out of bounds when they interfere with others' enjoyment of community and fulfillment of community goals.

    From my perspective, I know I can't control them directly, but I would love to either personally or as a community influence them to, as I said, stop the crap or leave by getting them over to my way of thinking.

    I feel that a way to influence others is to understand THEM. Gang members clearly don't strive to understand my desire for safety and civility and respect, but why? No matter how much I sit here and want them to...they don't.

    I am open to trying to figure out what they want before I make my case. Certain things may not be negotiable, but other things are.

    I am fine with incarcerating gang members and forcefully removing them from our community (to prison), but that doesn't seem to make their allies or friends happy or motivate others to stop the terror. Would a crack-down by police that increases the chances of being hauled to prison be enough to motivate?

    While sounding a bit politically incorrect and risky, might cooperation with the opponent actually increase our chances of discovering and realizing some common goal?

  7. Stash I dont think you can cajole or somehow cooperate with gangs.
    The reason they are in the gangs are the parents.

    So unless we were to adopt them from birth or an early age ourselves or something like that or some kind of amazing program these kids are lost. Sure you have exceptions like Tracy Morgan, they could turn around but the odds are against it.

    I have found nontolerance of loitering of any sort to be the key to peace in my area of the city. In RP I call when I see any loitering anywhere of anysort.

    Just keep up the good fight...

  8. According to my brother who studies gang graffiti and habits in chicago, he says, "that's latin kings claiming a neighborhood and kicking someone else out. cant tell what the other gang is...still working on it" And then says, "looks like its disrespecting two-six and the spanish cobras"