Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, March 2

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Andrew / February 4, 2008 12:29 AM

Someone smashed a window in my car Friday night and stole my bag out of the back seat. They got my laptop, an iPod and a bunch of other work-related stuff. I'm mostly upset about the lost files on my computer -- it was mostly backed up, but I lost about two months of client files.

My car was parked in a lot in Andersonville, during their big neighborhood sale thing. If you see an iBook with a ton of stickers on it, get in touch!

R / February 4, 2008 12:52 AM

My car was broken into a few years ago, and in a separate situation, some jerky kids from my neighborhood threw a brick through the windshield of my car as it sat parked on the street. Thankfully nothing that could not be replaced.

I'm very angry about Andrew's car, though.

Mikey / February 4, 2008 8:07 AM

Last spring, at around 3:45am following Cinco de Mayo, somebody emptied a .45 into the side of my girlfriend's car which was parked in my designated spot in the rear of my condo...

It was so incredibly loud (BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!) that everyone in the building, as well as most of the block, woke up...

Undoubtedly, it was nothing more than a random, alcohol-fueled act of vandalism, yet still rather disturbing as four of the six bullets pentetrated the rear passenger door into the backseat area where her daughter's child safety seat is situated. The car seriously looked as if it had been driven through downtown Bagdad...

lentronic / February 4, 2008 8:36 AM

My purse (containing iPod, Palm device, and a good deal of cash) was stolen at gunpoint about 4 years ago. I was walking home from a bar on a Friday night at about 10pm in Lincoln Square, and two guys came out of nowhere and jumped me on Sunnyside between Damen and Leavitt. I resisted at first, which was a really stupid thing to do (drunken stubornness) and ended up getting pistol-whipped.

The lump on the side of my head healed quickly, and my renters insurance covered the stuff that was stolen. But to this day, I don't walk anywhere without constantly looking behind me. Thankfully I was able to tell many people about this incident, which has hopefully encouraged them to take a cab instead of walking home.

spence / February 4, 2008 8:44 AM

I was hit & run by a car while crossing the street. I had the walk sign. Ended up costing over a grand in hospital bills.

Em / February 4, 2008 8:53 AM

A few summers ago my house was broken into during the weekday. They took all electronics, dvds and cds--everything that was easy to carry and sell. Luckily they took things of financial value but left the sentimental pieces which weren't replaceable, so I was slightly *less* pissed off.

The police are down the street so they came to dust for prints as a courtesy, and informed me that it was happening all over the neighborhood, exact same thing/time/theft. That would have been helpful to know ahead of time. I doubt it would have changed the actual theft, but knowing that there's a rash of daytime burglaries and not informing people? Seems pretty bogus.

Mateus / February 4, 2008 9:27 AM

A crazy homeless lady smashed a window in my car in Bucktown in 2002. I had a fued with her. She kept leaving pieces of bread next to my car in the alley, and pigeons would deposit incredible amounts of crap all over it. I asked her nicely to stop several times while she denied it. Then I caught her and spoke with her rather curtly. The next day my window was bashed in, and there was tons of bread both inside and outside my car.

What I never understood was that I used to see her digging through the garbage and eating things. Obviously food was an issue for her. So my question is, why not eat the bread?

Carlotta / February 4, 2008 9:32 AM

An attempted rape in 1978. I struggled, and I was fortunate that a couple came along, chased & caught him.

Stephen / February 4, 2008 9:37 AM

I was a victim of a hit-and-run at Chicago & Ashland a few years ago. I was pretty banged up but my uninsured motorist insurance covered it. They never caught the driver, but they found the car ditched a few blocks away.

Also, the night I moved to Chicago, someone threw up on the hood of my car and I guess the stomach acid ate through the finish of the paint. Then it froze solid. Had to get the whole hood repainted as a result.

charlie / February 4, 2008 10:06 AM

-Armed robbery
-All windows smashed in 1967 Volvo
-Breaking and entering (chased off)
-Lame attempt at "gooning" by a group of 8 or so kids.
-Strong arm robbery (no weapon)
-Duffle bag of technical mountaineering and ski clothing plus some climbing/skiing gear taken from back of my pick-up. (my stupid fault for not locking the cap) I was at a bar having a "quick drink" Duh......

All of this in Rogers Park over the last 20 years.

Amy / February 4, 2008 10:26 AM

Last year, my 15-year-old Civic was stolen from in front of my condo building, stripped and abandoned (stoopid drag racers wanting hard-to-come by parts so they could two-tone their cars). Last night, my neighbor's car was broken into and the stereo was stolen.

I've also been mugged once, pickpocketed once and had my car broken into for only a case of Diet Coke. All in "good" neighborhoods.

zoenotcool / February 4, 2008 10:29 AM

Rear windowshield of my car completely smashed out by a Corona beer bottle, probably thrown from a passing car at high speed. So there was broken window glass, beer, broken beer glass, and rain all over the inside of my poor car. This happened overnight and was discovered the next day. On south side of Fullerton, in Logan Square (1999-2000).

Oh, well. Nothing of value taken (there was nothing to take), no one hurt.

When I'm cleaning the inside of the car, sometimes I still find tiny bits of glass in the crevices.

Ha Ha ha / February 4, 2008 10:37 AM

God, where to start...

Mugged for a transistor radio in high school, robbed by three guys going to the bus home, bike stolen out of back yard, bike stolen in front of apartment, apartment robbed, car broken into, wallet lifted, wallet lifted again, etc., etc., etc.,

Not to be callous, but welcome to the big city.

Oh, and lost some bucks on the craptacular Patriots yesterday. That was REALLY robbery.

zoenotcool / February 4, 2008 10:57 AM

Crime can (and obviously, does) happen anywhere...but I don't accept that this has to be part of living in the "big city." Nope. Not giving up on humanity (entirely) yet.

Hal / February 4, 2008 11:01 AM

Generally speaking, no.

We had someone once steal our debit card number and charge their T-Mobile and DirectTV bills on Christmas Day. While we got it cleared right away, while these were the most obviously traceable crimes ever, T-Mobile, DirectTV, Chase and the CPD were all completely, totally useless.

I'm pretty sure it must have been someone that took a physical imprint of the card.

So, overall, really pretty lucky in that regard.

kate / February 4, 2008 11:05 AM

Got jumped in Logan about a year ago. It was a weeknight, around 2 am. Those fuckers tried to take my shit, but got nothing aside from a swift kick to the balls.

Random mugging in Wicker Park in 1996, but I had nothing on me and thus they got nothing.

Aside from that, none of my belongings have ever been messed with. Then again, I don't keep my belongings out in the open. No car and I keep the bike locked up in the (locked) garage.

Ray / February 4, 2008 11:08 AM

Two attempts, no success:

In Rogers Park, one night someone broke the curbside rear quarter windows of every car that had one (back when some did), to get at the contents inside. They broke mine, too, but that door was stuck shut on my car at the time, so they didn't get in.

In Bucktown, one night I forgot to put the big bad lock around the wheel of my motorcycle. Someone jimmied the ignition switch in an attempt to steal it, but did not defeat the lock and did not get it started. Bent the handlebars in the process, which accidentally got bent back straight when I dropped the bike a few weeks later, but that is another story.

Ha Ha ha / February 4, 2008 11:39 AM


Sorry, but I believe that crime will always happen the big city. It's been going on centuries and I see nothing to suggest it will stop. I'd rather accept and prepare for it TO happen than hope that it WON'T happen. The bigger the city, the more likely... the better to escape into the mass of humanity.

And it's not "giving up on humanity," it's accepting that things like this are a part of humanity. If there has been a peaceful, crime-free era or place on this planet with a collection of more than a million people, let me know of it. Hell, even Cain felt the urge to commit murder and there were only four people in the world (I mean, if you believe in that sort of thing).

snuh / February 4, 2008 11:48 AM

gawd, what a depressing thread. yeah, i had my purse stolen on the depaul campus; they'd cut it off me and used my credit cards at a couple gas stations.
i don't accept that living in the city means having to put up with crimes against you, and don't tell me to move to the suburbs.

d. / February 4, 2008 11:51 AM

hi. i got mugged over five years ago now back when i lived in the ukranian village. it was uneventful -- i was just threatened with what may or may not have been a gun, i never got a good look at it. it was the middle of the day too.

the kid took my wallet, took the cash out, and here's the funny part:

he handed it back to me!

i got my license and all my cards back and he just took 25 bucks out. go figure.

Caffeine Free / February 4, 2008 11:56 AM

-Purse stolen at Betty's Blue Star Lounge in 2002. This was mostly my fault for leaving it tucked in my coat on the floor. It was a little unnerving when someone used my cell phone to call me at home,

-Purse ripped out of my hands near the corner of Damen and Division while I was walking with a friend from the bars in 2002 also. I was freaked that someone had my house keys. What angered me more is that we talked to a Shell station and tried to flag down FOUR police cars, all of whom drove past.

-Recently, our U-Haul moving truck was tagged after leaving it overnight in Andersonville. We had to clean it off ourselves, because they wouldn't take the truck back until it was off. I spent my second day back in Chicago from NYC in a Menard's parking lot, using spray paint remover to wipe the truck down.

jasmine / February 4, 2008 12:00 PM

Bucktown, 1999: my first apartment was broken into three weeks after i moved in. lost my computer and some jewelry that my dad and grandma had given me over the years. oh, and my hs class ring. still baffled over that one.

Humboldt Park, 1999-2000: tires slashed on four different occasions, grill stolen from front porch (seven feet off the ground and occupied by a dog), car windows broken twice (broken car radio stolen)

Rogers Park, 2002: bike stolen

RP, 2003: hit by car while riding newly replaced bicycle

Ha Ha ha / February 4, 2008 12:02 PM

No one said anything about "putting up with it". I said that in a city of this size, crime WILL happen. Whether it happens to you or not is a different matter. But who said anything about just rolling over and taking it? There are things you can do to lessen the chances of it happening to you or to your community. But it's going to happen somewhere in a city of this size. Is that hard to acknowledge? Wish I was wrong, but...

ramsin / February 4, 2008 12:06 PM

Oh, so many. Jumped a few times, mugged once, two home invasions, more car break-ins than I can recount, although at least 5.

JAH / February 4, 2008 12:15 PM

Attempted mugging in Ravenswood a few years back (note to potential thieves: don't walk up to a dude carrying a bottle of wine by the neck and try to mug him while unarmed. You'll just get hit in the face with a wine bottle).

Same neighborhood, someone broke into my apartment and stole all the consumer electronics. Even my electric toothbrush. wtf?

Omar Devon Little / February 4, 2008 12:24 PM

I robs drug dealers, but I aint never put my gun on no citizen. Its all in the game.

Kelly / February 4, 2008 12:36 PM

Lived in the city only a little over a year now. I pray every day that nothing like this happens to me.

jen / February 4, 2008 12:39 PM

i guess i'm lucky to have only had my car hit by a snow plow (december 2005). filed the police report as a formality, which was pointless. couldn't "prove" it was a snow plow, although what else could have possibly done this?
$3300 worth of damage.

and while i can't be sure, i believe my wallet was lifted at the whole foods on huron at lunch one day about two years ago. still haven't replaced my library card, so i hope they didn't go checking out a bunch of books!

Ha Ha ha / February 4, 2008 12:41 PM


You'll be fine. Just be alert, aware of your surroundings and you'll be ok. It's not that bad here.

annie / February 4, 2008 12:51 PM

in Beverly in 2000, my car was stolen and then the drunks who stole it drove into a house, I had already reported it stolen so I was covered, but that poor guy who had a car in his living room had to pay for it.

in 2005, Small Bar on Division, my wallet was lifted from my purse and the jerk(s) took my debit card to the Casino and made a night of it, wiping out my checking acct, about $2000. and Bank One never "paid me back" even though I reported it stolen.

Last summer in the Loop my locked bike was stolen from infront of my office building, and then I bought a new bike and one week later it and my boyfriend's bikes were stolen from our locked back porch. That was fun.

Omar, you da best!

porgy / February 4, 2008 12:51 PM

...have been a victim many times by acting casual about my surroundings..then...
a young, old, city gent (ha, ha,ha)
taught me a few things about "urban awareness"
now I'm more prepared and less afraid.
If I was afraid all the time I couldn't live in the city...

ebow / February 4, 2008 1:02 PM

I was robbed 4 years back as I sat in my car with a lady friend. I was dropping her off at her car in Lincoln Park. We double parked and made out. Apparently it was long enough that a sketchy conversion van drove by us, saw what we were doing and came back to rob us. The car was still running while they deftly opened the doors, removed the keys from the ignition, tossed them and poked a knife into our sides. They took my 7 bucks and her purse which also had her car keys.

She ended up spending the night while her friend drove her a spare set of keys in the morning.

I also had my wallet lifted last year (in the loop), had an attempted car theft also about 4 years back (in west lakeview) and had a gang of lil' biker boys chase me down trying to nab my bike (cabrini).

irisheyes1212 / February 4, 2008 1:31 PM

My phone was lifted off the bar at Milwaukee and Bryn Mawr Friday night. We go there all the time, so I didn't think anythin of leaving my phone next to my drink...and my friend!

Dude that was trying to hit on me (and failing miserably) was gone when I got back...and so was my phone.

He's not a regular so he better hope he never shows up there again.

My "quiet drink with a friend" ended up costing $160

paul / February 4, 2008 1:55 PM

Random close calls with opportunist muggers where either stupidity or bravado either keep the distance or made me not worth the effort.

Most recently, on CTA property a guy came up to me and said, lazily , "Give me yur wallet" I said no, he just moved on as if he had asked me for change.

Lots of piddly stuff taken from my car over the years.

But two encounters in 4 months chasing off opportunistic kids in the backyard (Evanston, not the city) cause me the worse fears - I hurt one of them when he charged me (I threw a pint glass at his head), and fear retribution.

Frances / February 4, 2008 2:01 PM

Luckily, nothing too frightening has happened to me (yet).

In Logan Square:

My lap top was stolen from my first-floor apartment.

My sister's car stereo was stolen.

My roommate was robbed at gunpoint while walking to work.

River North:

A lot of co-workers have had their wallets pickpocketed recently.

Humboldt Park:

Some kids tried to rob my friend. Fortunately, he had nothing on him.

Pedro / February 4, 2008 2:22 PM

I'm reminded every time I hear one of our cook county officials speak.

Why do the people of Chicago have stockhom syndrome for these criminals?

Anon / February 4, 2008 2:40 PM

The Chicago Department of Revenue usually robs me of $100-$150 per year via the city's street cleaning program.

Broken driver's side window for no apparent reason last year. The brick was sitting on the seat.

A good friend was shot and killed for no reason in 2003 at Damen and Leland. No robbery attempt. No words exchanged. Just two pieces of shit, one with a gun who thought shooting someone in the head randomly would be cool. CPD never caught them of course.

Fletcher / February 4, 2008 2:48 PM

From near the Vic....the soft window on my Jeep Wrangler was slashed to gain access. Too bad the idiot didn't check the door; I leave it unlocked for the smarter a-holes. Anyway, all they got was a half-eaten bag of sunflower seeds, a pack of gum, a box of tic-tacs and a golf umbrella with my college's logo on it. Can't wait to see THAT walking down the street!

m / February 4, 2008 3:00 PM

the worst crimes ive been a victim of have been fashion related crimes. ive only lived in the city for about 2 years though.

i like to think i have a healthy observation level of things that go on around me, so hopefully that will aid me in the future (since im only 23). i also lived in florence, italy for 6 months and never got pick-pocketed (although 2 random men did kiss me and walk away rapidly. that was weird.)

i tend to take cabs and always feel guilty about it, but this post is making me feel a little better about that.

jennifer / February 4, 2008 3:09 PM

sadly, yes. have had my bag picked on the chicago ave. bus. going into work on a super crowded bus (you all know the type) meant that I didn't realize my wallet had been lifted until the afternoon. the salt in the wound: the robber got my super cute rebecca percy wallet two weeks after I had received! I am still angry with whodunit.

jennifer / February 4, 2008 3:16 PM

oh yes, and the biggest of crimes against me...identity theft. not sure how it went down, but thinking it was due to someone getting my torn up mail. still dealing with clearing up loans made in my name in michigan and georgia.

hint to all: get a shredder and shred your mail. (for all of you who already have one, you are smarter than I was.)

Eamon / February 4, 2008 3:21 PM

Two muggings and some hit 'n' runs on my car.

C-Note / February 4, 2008 3:41 PM

Never been crimed, although I do get a lot of people calling me early in the morning and apologizing for dreaming about doing crimes against me. Gets old fast.

kn / February 4, 2008 3:44 PM

All four tires were stolen off my car, from right behind my house.

Several car windows smashed, sometimes things stolen, sometimes not.

And someone followed me from the chinatown red line stop to my car and thankfully just took my money and cell phone. I should have trusted my intuition on that one. I also should have run my car into him given that I had the chance.

E / February 4, 2008 4:10 PM

As I type this, it’s hard to believe how much has happened since I moved here in 1997. Sounds like fiction…

Jumped by skinheads on the SW side. Me (white) and my Mexican boyfriend.

A car bomb (no lie) exploded a van outside my first-floor apt, shattering my front windows and singeing the hair off my body from the intense ball of fire and heat that came into my place. Wicker Park. (1999)

Car tires slashed twice. (Logan Square and Ravenswood)

Car windows broken out countless times, including rear window. One of the times a bum saw an opportunity through the plastic on the window and “moved in” to my car.

Some drunk hipster sucker-punched my boyfriend in the face outside the Damen Blue Line. I immediately jumped on the hipster and he had no qualms punching me in the face too!

Two garage break-ins, 1 bike stolen. Logan Square and Humboldt Park.

2 car stereos stolen, 1 West Logan and 1 Ravenswood.

Stolen lamp covers and other external parts of my cars (and bikes).

And dozens of close-calls, too many to list.

sc / February 4, 2008 4:22 PM

2003: car windshield smashed while parked in lakeview.

2005?: hit and run accident in ravenswood, car totaled.

2007: mugged in lakeview on st. patrick's day at like 2am. i might have been the only non-drunk person walking around anywhere. (i was at a party where they were only giving beer to select individuals). it was ok, but they took my favorite bag made by my great aunt, and i have never found a suitable replacement. i had to spend several hundred dollars replacing things (like my glasses), and they only got like $12 out of it. and two bus rides on my cta card. oh yes, but they were very kind to repeatedly inform me while they held me down, "nobody's goin' to rape you."

also, every so often, i come out to a parking lot and find a headlight or something mysteriously smashed on my car.

Ozzie / February 4, 2008 4:23 PM

"Why do the people of Chicago have stockhom syndrome for these criminals?"

i don't think anyone in Chicago has a "Stockholm syndrome" regarding criminals in Chicago. No one is identifying with and becoming sympathic to criminals (unless it's other criminals). All some are saying is crime happens in this city so it would behoove you to acknowledge that it does and take steps to lessen the chances of it happening to you and your neighborhood. What's "stockholm syndrome" about that?

Stephen / February 4, 2008 4:46 PM

Ozzie, with regard to "Stockholm syndrome", I think Pedro was specifically questioning why we keep electing individuals some people consider to be "criminals" here in Cook County... not saying we're sympathetic to the "regular" murderers, rapists, muggers, etc.

Poppy / February 4, 2008 4:58 PM

Way back around 1994 I had a soft top stolen off of my Wrangler when I parked it by Devon & Western, and way, way back around 1989 my car was broken into in the Evanston Northwestern commuter lot. They stole a briefcase full of cassettes by local bands (I did a local show on WNUR) and apparently they weren't up to snuff because the theives left them in another car that they broke into that night and I got them back from the campus cops.

Reading thsi thread is making me really happy that I decided to have an alarm system installed in my house and that I've taken a self-defense course (IMPACT Chicago - I highly recommend it for any woman in an urban setting).

DXO / February 4, 2008 5:22 PM

Robbed at gunpoint and socked in face by gang members.

Kevin / February 4, 2008 5:57 PM

Not me, but my buddy had his car get stolen. The person that stole it then illegally parked it, whereupon it was towed, and then he had to pay the 4 tickets it had accrued, plus the towing fees. That is Chicago in a nutshell right there.

gate / February 4, 2008 6:04 PM

Since 2001 near Chicago and Ashland:

4 auto break-ins, nothing stolen because I never leave anything in the car.

1 attempted mugging. I was followed for several blocks. He crossed the street back and forth 5 times shadowing me but I ducked into a bar when he started running after me.

In 2000 or 2001 I witnessed a gang related homicide next to Wrigley field.

I know countless people who have had cars stolen and apartment burglaries. My favorite story is my friend who found a guy passed out in his van. He kicked him out and then noticed that the steering column was broken open. He chased the guy down and beat the snot out of him.

Brandy / February 4, 2008 6:09 PM

Knock on wood - 11 years here and nothing. I figure my odds have been a little better with no car, no bike and rarely out late.

Knock on wood again.

Leelah / February 4, 2008 6:11 PM

Pickpocketed in the Body Shop at Diversey and Broadway and Clark. The extra bonus came a few weeks later when the bills started showing up... they took out credit cards in my name. Fortunately, since I had reported it, I didn't have to pay for those. It screwed with my credit though.

Pickpocketed again at the Gingerman. They took money, used my debit card at a gas station and my wallet was eventually recovered (with several others) by the dumpster.

Major identity theft... not sure how it happened, but it was impressive. I found out when my credit went bad that someone took out a lien in my name, only it wasn't my name. It was my last name misspelled by one letter, combined into one word with my ex-husband's last name. (I never took his name). My social security number was one digit off. The fake address? My ex-husband's name as the street: ie: 111 S. Joe Smith Ave. (not his name!). It took me about six months to get that off of my record, and my credit was really shot to hell.

Also, while I was selling my house, someone stole all of my expensive jewelry: my former engagement ring, a few bracelets, a few necklaces. Not sure when that happened. I didn't even realize it until months after I moved.

W / February 4, 2008 7:21 PM


Ozzie / February 4, 2008 7:24 PM

Stephen (and Pedro)... Gotcha. I didn't think about it in terms of the big picture, just in terms of the subject at hand.

JP / February 4, 2008 9:29 PM

What a timely question. Just this past weekend, my 10-year old, beat-up Honda was stolen from right outside my apartment. First time anything like this has happened to me after 5 years of living here. It turned up in Wisconsin, but the icky factor wil lead me to trade it in.

Jill / February 4, 2008 9:29 PM

Wow. I echo the person who said this thread is depressing. I've been pretty lucky in my 12 years here. Only problem was recently having my credit card number swiped after a pizza delivery (I'm paying cash only from now on!). Luckily, I happened to check my online statement pretty soon after it happened and was able to stop everything. It also helped that the crooks made 2 orders from Il Fornello, and the awesome manager there caught on, stopped them, and was able to give me all their info.

I do try to be aware of my surroundings when I'm out alone, and I don't understand it when people talk on cell phones/listen to iPods after dark while they're walking by themselves. To me, that's just too big of a risk to take.

vanessa / February 4, 2008 9:39 PM

When I was in college, I was leaving a night class and was thinking about walking to Union Station a mile or so away. So, I started walking and a guy comes up to me.

He basically tried to mug me with a knife in his hand. I was pissed b/c the studio time that I had didn't pan out as well as hoped, I was probably PMS'ing and I was broke. And this guy wanted to take everything that I had? I told him to shove off and leave a broke college student alone. I started walking away, he tried to grab my bookbag from my back (he was behind me) and I elbowed him in the neck.

I learned this in tae kwon do -- who knew it would actually work?! Anyway, I think I startled him, b/c he let go. I bolted, a cabbie saw me and took me to Union Station. I went home and cried from shock. I'm guessing that's probably my one freebie...

JD / February 4, 2008 9:46 PM

Earlier this winter, some jerk smashed the rear window of my car and grabbed a (luckly) empty laptop case. But also grabbed a stack of papers lieing on the back seat containing bank statements, junk mail (CC applications), and resumes.
I promptly froze my credit and bank accounts, nothing ever happened. They also grabbed a present I got that day for my uncle...
A 3' splitting axe...
All in all, the worst part was the windowless drive out to suburbs in 20 degree weather to show up at a b-day party cold, pissed, and empty handed.
That and I have had my spare tire stolen twice. So now I roll commando.

sevens / February 4, 2008 11:34 PM

Robbed at gunpoint in front of my house in Bucktown 3 years ago. Guys tried to pull me into the alley. I screamed and pulled myself away by holding onto a fence (with a gun in my back). Police took twenty minutes and four 911 calls to respond. I tried to get the videotape surveillance from the viaduct (there was a sign warning of surveillance), but after calling the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (apparently Canada owns those railroad tracks), no one knew how or if there was a tape. We eventually moved because I couldn't walk home (but still live in Chicago - I love it here). Just always remember that I live in a city and I ultimately have to protect myself.

Cinnamon / February 5, 2008 12:31 AM

*knocking on wood*
I've been here 11 years and aside from falling for the occasional "down on my luck" scam, I've had nothing criminal happen to me. There were some kids that threw eggs at us while having a cookout in our back yard.

Steven / February 5, 2008 12:35 AM

Not unless you count mangled English as a felony.

When I was a student at Northwestern, a car I borrowed from a friend was broken into in downtown Evanston. That's why I don't like to travel to the burbs any more. It's not safe there.

Anon / February 5, 2008 9:20 AM

"Police took twenty minutes and four 911 calls to respond."

Reminds me of some of my experiences:

1998 - Marshfield and Grace - rival gangbangers fire off a shot outside my window. I called 911. CPD never showed. Called again. Nada.

2003 - Sunnyside and Artesian - guy gets jumped outside my alley by two thugs with a knife. I called 911 as soon as I heard him screaming. CPD arrived 20 minutes later.

2005 - Glenwood and Elmdale - a guy laying down on the sidewalk in front of my building. He looked dead but it turns out he was passed out drunk. CPD arrived quickly and woke the guy up. He was honest, told them he was drunk, and they let him "walk home." They then idled in the street for a few minutes to write up a ticket and add it to a car that had about fifty tickets on it. Then they drove off into the night to generate more revenue. That one's my favorite.

2006 - Elmdale and Glenwood - One thug shoots another. CAPS meeting reveals that victim thug isn't cooperating. A CPD friend looks up the case number and gives me his name and address. I call the landlord of the building (the only bad one left on the block) and he says he can't do anything. I call the alderman's office and the block club and they say they can't do anything.

2006 - Hollywood and Clark - CAPS meeting reveals dumbass landlords like to rent to drugdealers. Over a year went by and the city couldn't evict the dealers. Turns out that half the year you can't evict people in Chicago due to the cold weather. What a joke.

You're on your own out there folks, so be careful.

anne / February 5, 2008 9:57 AM

Someone has busted a window (two passenger side front, one passenger side rear) in my 18-year old Honda 3 times in the 4 years I've lived here. Twice it happened on my street in front of my house, and once down near Fulton and Ashland. Not once did they take my shitty tapedeck or anything of value. But once they did take some burns of jazz albums I had in a CD visor over the steering wheel. Sheah, like they were big Coltrane fans.

J / February 5, 2008 10:08 AM

Hyde Park in 2000: someone stole the back license plate off my car, which was parked a block from my house. The front plate had a different screw so they couldn't get it.

A couple of weeks later, my car is parked in front of my neighbor's, and he calls me to tell me my license plate is sitting on his front porch.

So, knock on wood.

Elizabeth / February 5, 2008 10:18 AM

Got mugged last March. I always thought that I was very aware of my surroundings. So for those of you who think it won't happen to you, never say never. It doesn't hurt to be prepared though.

Ben / February 5, 2008 10:18 AM

A thread like this can be scary, especially since it gives a skewed sense of things as all the people who have NOT been the victims of crime don't post on here (apart from a couple.)

Still, a sobering list. I, for one, lived in Chicago (Rogers Park & Lakeview) for 5 years ('98-'03) and never had anything bad happen to me.

I'm considering moving back with my family (wife & 2 young kids), but a thread like this gives me pause...

Josh / February 5, 2008 11:01 AM

Jumped in the summertime once when I was 16. Cracked my bicycle and my nose. Other than that, free and clear.

I also look like a real asshole, so that's what has probably kept away many trouble-makers in my life.

Some of you have horror stories of true violence, dear God.

Cell phones stolen off bar counters? Laptops taken from backseats? Sorry, some of you are soft and need thickening.

Identity theft is not a "city" crime.

zoenotcool / February 5, 2008 11:52 AM

Any crime that happens within the city limits is a city crime.

So very sorry that some of these crimes don't live up to your tough standards and apparently some people haven't suffered enough for you, Josh.

I'm glad you are so hard and have such a tough, thick hide. Good for you!

I must have missed the part that described this as a dick-swinging competition. (Who is the baddest city dweller of them all?)

Marlo Stanfield / February 5, 2008 12:10 PM

Go ask Avon Barksdale who the Baddest.

gemma / February 5, 2008 12:22 PM

I got mugged in Hyde Park in 2005. I was walking home from Jimmy's alone. Admittedly not too smart, but I had only consumed one beer, it was 10:30 pm and only had a few blocks to walk.

Some fashionable dickhead wearing Diesel jeans (The things you notice!) roughed me up by throwing me in the street, threatened me with a possibly fake gun and made off with bag containing my camera, ipod and wallet.

Recently a friend was mugged at gunpoint in Logan Square walking at 8:30 pm on Logan Blvd just east of California.

jen / February 5, 2008 12:35 PM

um, i think the point Josh was making was that these crimes are easily preventable.

don't leave your phone at the bar and don't leave your laptop in your backseat (visible! lock it in the trunk!)

Josh / February 5, 2008 12:57 PM

What's with the bit about people not suffering enough? I acknowledged that some have endured "horror stories of true violence". Having some electronic accessory stolen from a public area is irritating, annoying and disrespectful. It's not, however - "suffering".

If this was a "dick-swinging competition", I would have bragged about defending myself against various assailants. I did not.

Avoiding this aforementioned behavior (that results in theft) is being street-smart, that's all. The bad-ass city dwellers you refer too, zoenotcool, are actually the criminals themselves.

Hate to add to the repetition, but this is a really big city, and people should to be more careful.

JohnnyQ / February 5, 2008 1:35 PM

Wicker Pork '03: daytime robbery of 3rd floor apt. They emptied out my piggy bank. Literally.

Also took me 3 stolen bikes in 4 years to learn to never go without a U-lock.

M / February 5, 2008 1:48 PM

Johnny, did you intend a "Wicker Pork" / piggy bank connection there? Either way, hilarious.

jennifer / February 5, 2008 2:02 PM

crime is crime. the damage done is of a broad spectrum. but don't disrespect others' reactions to violations against them. that's just rude.

steven / February 5, 2008 2:25 PM

Someone picked the lock on my car and stole some merch, can't even remember what it was though. Also had a cop knock on the door at 3am to tell me someone was walking up the block checking every car for an open door.

Sometimes I'll get into my car in the morning and swear to God things aren't how I left them. Weird.

Proposition “Prop” Joe / February 5, 2008 2:38 PM

This being America and all, one man’s crime is another man’s opportunity, it’s the American way.

Leah / February 5, 2008 3:15 PM

A dude with a butcher knife came through the bathroom window. Stole the money out of our purses and then went into my roommates with the knife out. She scared him off by screaming at him, but we didn't sleep for nights.

Of course, they never found the guy. Sigh.

Ukie Village, almost 5 years ago.

Then I moved to Ravenswood, where it would be safer and within a month my upstairs neighbor was murdered on our sidewalk coming home from Simply Rays.

Spook / February 5, 2008 3:54 PM

My nieghbor was a hispanic family,who took out a
a predatory mortgage loan.
I read their contract after the fact, because they couldn't read English well enough to understand why their payments increased by 1,700 dollars.

Last September her husband got arrested by immigration, leaving the mother alone with their two kids. They continued to miss payemnts. Last month she completely abondoned her home. Yea I feel like I witnessed a crime.

OMG / February 5, 2008 4:39 PM

...putting the "illegal" in front of immigrant or "predatory" in front of loan?

holden / February 5, 2008 4:46 PM

in the 18 months i was a resident of chicago;
my car was broke into and my car stereo was stolen, my parked car was the victim of a drunken hit and run by some fools who ran into a tree two blocks later. my car had a rough time, it was also the not-at-fault participant in an low speed accident that allowed me to fix the damage from the hit and run too. :)

oh, and i had my heart stolen by a girl too. luckily it was returned to me undamaged three years later.

vit / February 5, 2008 5:59 PM

My poor belated car, it suffered such abuse:
Broken into 4 times
Vandalized 2 times
3 Hit and Runs (the third one totaled the car)

... I finally got the message that apparently the universe (or at least Chicago) doesn't want me to have a car, and I haven't owned a car for four years now...

Oh, and I was pick pocketed once.

vit / February 5, 2008 6:00 PM

belated? uh, I meant 'late' ... as in the car no longer exists. I don't know how the word 'belated' managed to sneak past me there.

Rebecca / February 6, 2008 9:34 AM

There are only three that warranted a police report in the past 9 years in the city:
1. Car broken into and my beloved tool box stolen from it.
2. My bike's lock cut and stolen from a gated apartment parking lot.
3. A cab driver wouldn't let me out of his cab and got majorly hand-sy.

KJ / February 6, 2008 9:55 AM

1996: Wallet stolen from purse, some credit cards used. Eeep!

1998: Apartment broken into, jewelry stolen. Argh.

1999: Car sideswiped while parked on Damen Avenue, minor damage but still a hassle. *Sputtter*

2003: Mugged while walking home, book bag stolen, some injuries. Gah.

Agree with whoever recommended self-defense classes for women (or anyone). Learn to break noses!

smellen / February 6, 2008 10:43 AM

1999: car window busted in WP, some CD's stolen

2001-2004: car window busted numerous times behind apt in west bucktown; learned to not keep much in car, esp. after a thief made off with just a few coins from the cup holder

2003 or 2004: same apt in west bucktown broken into, after we stupidly left a kitchen window open on 1st floor. thief/thieves easily shimmied up between the two buildings & got in through window. got some electronics, but roomie possibly came home during break-in, as they didn't even venture into bedrooms & insurance covered everything & then some. thank you CPD for basically telling us to claim we had 50 DVDs stolen.

ls / February 6, 2008 10:44 AM

1994- camera stolen at Columbia College

1995-Wicker Park apartment broken into. stole bike and cds, during the daytime. Then saw most of my cds for sale at Reckless the next week. ugh

1999- purse stolen from Liars Club (kinda my fault on that one)

2004-bike stolen in Pilsen

2007-our movers stole an i-pod!

I'm definately a lot smarter about walking alone at night and I shudder to think of all those solo drunken stumbles home at 3am in wicker park in the 90's, cutting through alleys and the like. So dumb. You think you're invincible when you're young...

GB store

Recently on Fuel

Urban Ethos [26]
What is Chicago's "urban ethos"?

Cool Glass of... [16]
What're you drinking?

Supreme Decision [22]
What's your reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act?

Taking it to the Streets [20]
Chicago Street Fairs: Revolting or Awesome?

I Can Be Cruel [9]
Be real: what is the meanest thing you've ever done?

View the complete archive

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15