Sunday, December 4, 2011

Update From Ald. Cappleman About This Morning's Murder

Ald. Cappleman sent out a mailing this evening about the gang-related killing of Edward Clark that happened this morning:

"I want to inform you of a shooting that occurred early this morning at around 2am on the 4700 block of N. Winthrop (Police Beat 2312).  It's believed that the 20-year-old male is from the area and died immediately from his head wound.  The 23rd District police believe the crime is related to gang activity in the area that evening. Our hearts go out to the family of this young man.

Commander Boehmer notified me within an hour of this incident.  Given other recent shootings, I want to respond to questions that many of you have expressed.

Below are some of the questions I have received and some answers regarding the recent increase in shootings. Please find these and additional questions on my website by clicking here.   [UU Note: There's a lot of good information at this link, much more than in the mailing, addressing a lot of questions that commenters have raised on UU.  We recommend reading the entire thing on the website.]

Question: Gang-related crime usually goes down in colder months. What's the reason for the increase in gang violence in Uptown during this time of year?

Compared to last year, there is a decrease in shootings, but one shooting is still too many. However, there is usually less gunfire during this time of year. Here are a couple of possible factors:
  • A number of gang members arrested in some local drug busts are being released out of prison in the last few months, and they are in the midst of re-establishing their presence in the neighborhood.
  • It's becoming more difficult for gangs to do their drug sales in wider open areas and they are now in turf wars in smaller compact areas, leading to more tension.
Question: Are the police cameras not helpful in reducing crime?

There is some deterrence with the use of police cameras, but the most productive use for these cameras is to help resolve crime.

Question: Where are the crime hotspots?

The 46th Ward Office worked with the Commanders of the 20th and 23rd Police Districts to identify five hot spots in the 46th Ward.  Out of respect for property and business owners who want the value of their property protected, we will not publicize this information.  For more information about what I am doing to address crime in hotspots, check out the 46th Ward's Master Plan by clicking here.

Question: Why can't the Alderman get more police walking the streets?

I do not have the authority to tell Commanders and the Police Superintendent how to do police work.  Nor should I.  The job of any alderman is to provide the necessary support for the police to do their job.  As Alderman, I meet with the Commanders from both the 20th and 23rd Police Districts to provide them with the needed support to address the Ward's crime hot spots, problem buildings, and individuals with especially high rates of arrests.

Question: What do I do if I believe the police aren't being respectful toward members of the community?

The City has set up a program that specifically deals with issues residents have with the police.  It's called the Independent Police Review Authority.  For more information about them and the process they use to review your concerns, click here.  If you have complaints about the Independent Police Review Authority, please don't hesitate to contact me by clicking here.

Question: How do I find out about CAPS in my area?

Each week, the 46th Ward Office sends out a notice about upcoming events including CAPS meetings.  For more information about beat maps, locations, and times of any CAPS Beat meeting in the 46th Ward, click here.

Question: Wouldn't having more things for youth to do after school help reduce gang activity?

I am strongly supportive of youth programs that give kids more opportunities after school.  We are finding that some kids in our neighborhoods are not taking advantage of programming at their local schools, the Parks Department, the Boys & Girls Club, Alternatives, and programs within their residential buildings.  The 46th Ward Office wants to partner with these programs to see what can be done to encourage kids and parents to take more advantage of them.

Question: What's being done to address crime related to students in high school?

The Mayor, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Superintendent of Police are rolling out a new program that has the local schools working more closely with the police and the religious leaders in the area.  It is currently being tried out in a few schools and will be expanded at a later date.  For more details about this plan, click here.  I also strongly believe that the community needs to be responsible for the kids in their neighborhoods.  I and others from concerned groups in the community have been patrolling streets near Uplift to make sure the kids attending the high school feel safe on their way home.

Other general observations about crime

There are many causes for crime that will call for many solutions. The best solutions will personally involve community residents. It was my concern about crime that originally led me to get very involved with the community.

While it is the goal of my office and the police to solve crime on many levels, your involvement is key.  The CAPS Program remains one of the best places to do problem-solving with the Police and the Alderman's Office.  Someone from my office attends all CAPS meetings within the 46th Ward.  Should you have other questions or concerns, they are available at the meeting to assist you."


  1. "What do I do if I believe the police aren't being respectful toward members of the community?"

    ARE YOU F'ING KIDDING ME? CPD is working their asses off with their hands tied behind their backs in fear of infringing upon the rights of these gang bangers. AND THIS is the type of Q&A that's being addressed in this newsletter?

    Great way to set the tone. My heart goes out NOBODY involved in a gang. NOBODY.

    And save the BS "….but you don't know if he was involved in a gang or not…." save it for someone else….

  2. jimo, a family lost someone they loved so let them grieve a little. Pointing fingers now is not helpful in this particular situation, especially from any alderman.

    I wonder if you've ever been to a CAPS meeting? The question about police brutality comes up all the time and some people feel unfairly targeted, especially when there's an increased police presence after a shooting. I say it's fair game to answer such a frequently asked question.

  3. No! I don't want to know if the cameras are reducing crime, the question was/is, did the police catch the person or persons who shot the young man right in VEIW of the camera on Wilson and Sheridan?? There is NO excuse why no one is in custody like the trib said. I don't care how broke the city is the cameras are there for a reason, and that reason should not be to give the uptown community a false sence of safety. Please, I DON'T want to hear, the camera is broken, the employees who are WATCHING the camera were on break at the time of the crime, or any other excuse! My TAX money pays for this! I think you owe uptown a CLEAR DIRECT answer. And mabie some proof of an arrest so we can feel a LITTLE better.

  4. Jimo, while questions like that do make my blood boil and I believe are purposely injected by residents who are trying to deflect responsibility, James unlike Helen is answering questions brought to him by ALL residents, not just his base.

    Kudos to James for at the very least listening to ALL concerns and for being available in the aftermath of violence, something we lacked in this ward for some time.

  5. Do you really think the alderman has any power to stop this? Not a chance

  6. Jimo,

    I'll give James lee-way on the respectful towards the community issue. If he didn't put that in there, someone would ask him why he didn't - and add all sorts of innuendo into their reasoning.

    What does bother me is that none of the answers provided in this announcement addressed any sort of immediate, tactical solution.

    This is all strategy - or pending strategy.

    With all due respect to James, as I know he's been working on the ward master plan, and he can't wave his hand and make this go away; but ..., over the past several years, as gang violence has been escalating, all we've heard has been a mix of either strategy, or strategy to develop a strategy.

    Granted, since local GBDs have lost their defelector-in-chief, there has been a marked increase in police presence, but we need more than that.

    We need to upset the environment around here which tolerates this type of behavior.

    Gag tags and any assorted reference to such need to be removed, immediately.

    Go check the sidewalks in front of Uplift (in front of a friggin' high school! The administrators need to be up James' a** to get those removed), or McDonald's ... gag tags.

    Check street signs, lamp posts, sides of residential and business buildings, garage doors .. gag tags.

    The longer those are allowed to stand, the more the community demonstrates tolerance.

    CPD should continually be running gang dispersal tactics.

    We, the alderman, CPD, residents, school and business leaders, need to make Uptown as unfriendly to gangs as possible - and we are not.

    Not all, but puh-lenty of kids are going to school draped in gang-esque clothing and behavior. I pass them every morning.

    Why do parents allow their kids to go to school like that? And why don't the school admin send them home when they do?

    Why is there no standing police (not in cars) presence on the Wilson platform before/after school - or along Wilson, Sheridan?

    Apologies for the rant, but it's obvious that, for whatever reason, the issue of gang violence isn't really being taken seriously and I highly doubt that I'm the only one who's pissed.

    And yes, I will get more involved in CAPS as a result - but the ideas I've just listed aren't rocket science. We just need some common sense around here ... and the requisite set of balls to actually confront this issue.

  7. This murder was very very close to where cappleman himself lives right? I think it should be a priority to get Lawrence House shut down. Will that solve everything? No, but its a nice start. How can we have a cool entertainment district if gangbangers are getting murdered nearby and getting shot at alot.

    Where the alderman has power is in shutting down poorly managed concentrations of low income housing. Lets start with Lawrence House, the castle of doom.

  8. @just wondering - YES, plenty of them. And they're a waste of time. I think it's comical, people are being shot in the middle of the afternoon and what does CAPS encourage - positive loitering. UHM, how bout some kevlar for us to wear. I mean, for YOU to wear.

    WHAT IS THE CPD DOING TO STOP THIS? I'm "just wondering." And yes, as long as I'm paying my taxes and NOT LIVING ON THE DOLE. I will point fingers.

    @chip - i see your point, still makes me upset….I give James all the credit in the world, I like him, voted for him and wouldn't wish this job on anyone - questions like that, just send the wrong message. period.

  9. As someone who attended the CAPS meeting for what many consider the tipping point for those against Shiller, the Sheridan-Leland 'fisticuffs' riot, I am amazed at those ticked off at Cappleman.

    Shiller and her staff mocked the police, encouraged groups to sue the police, NEVER showed up at CAPS meetings, NEVER engaged the greater community other than those that were here chosen ones, Ran from news cameras when residents had questions on crimes, had one of her staff members brandish a bat when we protested outside of her Aldermanic office regarding crime and a specific murder (and Yes, I personally saw the bat, I was there....)

    I believe that Shiller, and her supporters, spent the last 22 years demonizing the Police and anyone who questioned her authority. I personally think she and her staff had other, personal, motives to discourage the police from being able to do their job in our Ward.

    So you have an entrenched group of people that will take years, yes years, to root out. It is a cancer on our neighborhood that is only now getting the medicine it so badly needed for years...

    so give Cappleman a break.. He has done more in the 6 months or so that he has been in office to fight crime, address issues from ALL sides and try to move this ward in a positive direction than his predecessor did in over 20 years... there is no quick fix.

    So lets roll up our sleeves,attend CAPS meetings, call 911, 311, Child Protective Services and whomever else needs to be brought into this fight and make this a safer and better neighborhood for everyone...

  10. @chip - you'll also notice, I said "this newsletter." I guess what I was trying to say is, there's a time and place for everything. Highlighting that question in a email response directly related to a gang related murder wasn't the "right time." IMHO

    stay safe, enjoy your Monday.

  11. I drove by the scene today and there are still blue and black balloons. I understand that people love to set up these little street memorials, but having them decked out in gang colors is just crass and provocative. It also sends a clear message that nothing has been learned in the death of this person, and more is to come. I am sure Chase bank is thrilled to have this outside of their door.

  12. The mourning period is an emotional powder keg, so usually the cops let it be for 24 hours or so, then dismantle the "memorial." I don't see the harm. I'm not touchy-feely towards the gangs, but people who loved the guy are understandably upset, and if leaving the memorial up a day or so helps defuse the, um, more anti-social results that can come out of grief, then it's a small -- and temporary -- price to pay.

  13. A little help on this one, please:

    I do not intend to be insensitive to anyone killed, families, residents, political supporters or non-supporters or any other group, for that matter. However, can someone please help me out on why this incident has received near 40 comments on the write-up of the actual event and another dozen on the alderman's response (in the past ~24 hours, let alone), while other similar-such events (murders, drive by's, etc), earn a typical 2 or 3 about an upset resident regarding the gang violence?

    Is it the age of the guy who was murdered? Was it the proximity to residents? I really am curious about why this one in particular has struck such a nerve. And no, residents having enough of the gang violence is not the answer I'm looking for here - that has always been the case with every one of these events - as it should be. Nor am I looking for some debate about political (ie alderman) support, what they’re doing/not doing. That too has always been a omnipresent debate. I'm just curious why this one. Again, not trying to offend or be insensitive – every incident like this should receive such debate, outcry and fuel people for change. But what’s so special about this one?

    Though, since I'm here, I will insert two personal comments:

    -First, I am happy to see public outcry and awareness over the events which are published here and on similar postings. While the even is always tragic, the response shows community concern and encourages discussion. I hope it materializes into action and encourages people to be pro-active and make an effort in the neighborhood (besides typing/reading away as I am/you are doing here now).

    -Second, I appreciate the sympathy and words written in Sunday's write-up of the incident. I would assume they are largely reflective of resident's and reader's feelings (ex "STOP SHOOTING AT ONE ANOTHER", etc). However, pursuant to my previous point, these words are useless unless they reach the target audience. Telling others who are fed up with things about how fed up with things you are, does nothing (follow?). It's like a rally for equal rights given to those who do not have equal rights. Everyone in the audience already knows and believes in the message! If you're looking for people to agree with you and deliver a group "hurrah!" then mission accomplished. If you're looking for change, these words are just an exercise in typing practice. I’m just saying…

    The aforementioned words in Sunday’s post would be superb if delivered to the gangs, for instance. But posting them in UU as such and a barrage of fiery residents subsequently commenting really begs of fans shouting from the upper grandstand about which play to call next. The player on the field can’t hear you and the coach doesn’t even know you’re there.

  14. I enjoyed a lovely dinner with friends Thursday evening at Magnolia Cafe. While walking to the Wilson El station, we were forced to walk through a large group of gangbangers brazenly dealing drugs on the sidewalk. There were people coming and going on bicycles, and others whistling at each other to signal transactions. Not a cop in sight...

  15. I agree wholeheartedly with jimo.

    The question about CPD not being respectful was completely out of line and has absolutely nothing to do with this latest shooting in Uptown.

    Not to mention that the question falsely maligns Officers for some hypothetical behavior. And is yet another kick to the groin in morale for a force that is doing an impossible job while undermanned and underequipped.

    I don't know what CAPS meetings some of you have attended, but I've been to plenty where my experience has been that of working with hardworking beat Officers bending over backwards to meet the community's concerns.

    I call BS on the all too easy to make police brutality lie.

  16. I agree with Jimo. How many cases of police brutality have we witnessed in Uptown. What the h*ll does this have to do with the gang violence. Are we somehow implying that the gang bangers are doing some of this because of police brutallity. I can't even wrap my head around this.

    How about we do something about the endless drug selling that goes on in broad daylight at Truman and the North dide of Wilson under the L. How about we do something about that hell hole the Wilson Hotel club for men. Enough meaningless talk lets see some action. (simply listening is NOT enough). I voted for James and support him but its wearing thin. I don't expect immidate results but I do expect some kind of action that expands beyond positive loitering. Seriously these poeple will pull out a gun at a busy intersection at 5:00 in the afternoon. I think we are a little beyond the need of positive loitering.

  17. "Compared to last year, there is a decrease in shootings..."

    This is extremely hard to believe. I don't blame the Alderman or the police for the shootings. But I haven't heard so many shootings since the early 90's. Maybe there has been less casualties reported but I hear gunshots almost every other day.It's INSANE.

    I can't make it to the CAPS meeting at Truman. But will definitely attend the one at Clarendon Park to talk about this specific issue.

    It is insulting to the neighborhood residents to keep hearing that shootings have decreased. I don't feel safe and it's because I hear gunshots constantly.

  18. @jimo, how do you know what feedback the Alderman has been hearing regarding respectful behavior by police in response to this murder? how do you know this email wasn't the time nor place?

    Not at all related to this case, but I have witnessed CPD intentionally incite a woman into a shouting match by yelling obscenities and racial epithets at her, all for crossing the street too slowly for the officer's liking.

  19. About "CPD not being respectful" and about Alexander's comments...

    This isn't the first time UU posts about murders and other shootings have gotten more than 2 or 4 replies, Alexander...I don't know where you were during previous murders, but I know that posts about them--the one on Sunnyside at Racine in early September, for example, had a lot of discussion. If you would go back into the archives and I.D. some UU posts about other Uptown murders that only got a couple of comments, maybe we can figure out why that was the case. People reply on those posts for a number of reasons, but I think the main reason they don't go directly to the gangs responsible for the murders is entirely for purposes of self-preservation.

    As far as the comments about whether or not CPD is or is not being respectful toward members of the community--it's not entirely about segments of the community alleging "police brutality" or even about racial profiling that others allege the CPD does. The CPD also needs to respect those of us who stick our necks out to actually MAKE the 911 calls and to ask to file criminal complaints...don't "pooh-pooh" calls made by a handful of people who have valid complaints...don't take down information from witnesses of violence who ASK to file complaints--then do no follow-up. Do our police officers put themselves at risk doing their jobs everyday? OF COURSE THEY DO. But to be honest, I have lost a great deal of respect for them after hearing that my neighbors' valid 911 calls are being attributed to "crazy condo owners", that I and several of my neighbors identified ourselves in front of police officers AND gang members as wanting to file criminal complaints--and *NOTHING* came about in follow-up, and that when we make regular appearances in CAPS meetings--the police give us a bureaucratic run-around and the Alderman tells us that we need to do more ourselves after we've already spent our own time and money doing youth outreach, 911 calling trees, neighborhood improvements and organizing that apparently isn't "enough". You want respect? Give respect when it's due, too. As it stands, I'm not bothering to call 911 anymore unless I see blood or bodies--it's been made abundantly clear that we're entirely on our own in our corner of Uptown.

  20. Mindy, after "Operation Sugar Magnolia" went down the P Stones spent many months trying to regroup, so I am sure that accounts for a lot of the "decreased" shooting. Last summer they were shooting and being shot at on a daily basis in the Sheridan Park area. With one of the major gangs out of commission the stats had to go down.

    I am sure that is no comfort to you though, just trying to explain how it is possible. 1 shooting is way to many in my book.

    I will say in Sheridan Park we have increased the 911 calls. My neighbors and myself call immediately if we see a group congregating. It's daunting, tiring, and frustrating. The P Stones were dismantled last winter only to be back months later fully operational. They are welcomed right back in to the buildings and neighborhoods they terrorize.

  21. How about something like skywatch which they have in newyorkcity?
    Pretty weird, but cool looking.

  22. @ Jeffo...what is that supposed to accomplish.... seriously?

    I thought it was going to be a helicopter, its probably used for special events, so maybe it will work for Lollapalooza...dampen the fun and give it a POW camp vibe....

    @ Yo

    I know the kids are going to hate me for sayin' it but, CPS either needs a strict dress code or uniform requirement. Now before anyone gets their civil rights hat on its been to court chill out.


    maybe equip these babies with rubber bullets and tear gas
    put one up at broadway and sheridan and one at lawrence and winthrop and one at lawrence and sheridan and one at hazel and wilson.

    These are crazy machines that give cops a birds eye view of the action. Imposing hunh?

  24. Question: Wouldn't having more things for youth to do after school help reduce gang activity?

    I am strongly supportive of youth programs that give kids more opportunities after school. We are finding that some kids in our neighborhoods are not taking advantage of programming at their local schools, the Parks Department, the Boys & Girls Club, Alternatives, and programs within their residential buildings. The 46th Ward Office wants to partner with these programs to see what can be done to encourage kids and parents to take more advantage of them.

    I have small children and are not familiar with many of the programs so called available in Uptown.These programs are probably not being used because they are not publicized.

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  26. @Luvin- He was a GD. Check out the black and blue tribute. @Dacutest - check out the park district.