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.
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Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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alicia / September 4, 2003 1:52 PM

some bangers moved in 4 houses down from me about 9 months ago. within 24 hours of them moving in spray painted gang symbols started appearing on the signs, trash cans, garages, and even on the sides of building in my neighborhood. within a week of them moving in there were several drug busts. within a month there had been weapons violations too. somehow though not all of them are in jail. some of them still exist and continue to make living on my block a difficult ordeal. the slumlord who is renting to them knows what is going on, he is a good friend of theirs and can often be seen outside on the sidewalk in front of the property drinking beer and mad dog and smashing bottles on the sidewalk. i've talked with my alderman, i've talked with the police. i've even talked with some undercover narcotics guy and all they say is, soon they will be gone. the house they are living in right now is apparently in housing court and the city is trying to take ownership of it because it is such a dump.

on tuesday night the slumlord was busted in front of my living room window which just happened to be open at the time. i grabbed a pretty long audio recording of the bust in which the police threaten the slumlord and call him nasty names. i think he kind of deserves it. i'm thinking of posting it to my webpage this week, but i'm not sure if gang bangers read the internet.

i live in east village, just south of wicker park. according to citizen icam, which i check pretty regularly since the gang moved in, crime keeps going up in my neighborhood.

Andrew / September 4, 2003 1:53 PM

I don't want any problems, just take the wallet.

Seriously, though, a couple of gangs are fighting over turf about four blocks north of where we live. It hasn't affected us so much yet, but chances are they'll head south a bit once they settle their claims north of us.

Audrey / September 4, 2003 2:05 PM

I don't know about Gangs, but pointless car-destruction by what I assume to be groups of aimless criminals is rampant: ever since moving to my apartment near the intersection of Milwaukee, North and Damen, my car has suffered everything from purposeless break-ins (nothing in there to steal) to tire-slashings to windshield smashings to side-mirror stealings. By the way, my car is no prize -- a 1995 Dodge. I file a police report every time (just to be a squeaky wheel), and the police alternately have laughed in my face, hit on me and insisted I must have a "jealous boyfriend." This is, aside from the invasion of Starbucks, the only thing I really hate about Wicker Park.

ryan p / September 4, 2003 3:55 PM

Outside of the synchronized dancing and finger-snapping, gangs aren't a big deal in my neighborhood.

Seriously though, I live in a nice buffer zone between Shitville and WorseThanShitVille (just west of Milwaukee & Western), and it's relatively problem-free. Knock on wood it stays like this.

A lex, x, x / September 4, 2003 5:48 PM

I grew up in Little Village/Pilsen -- so they don't bother me at all. I'm more miffed about those gangs of baseball cap wearing, SUV-drivin' , latte-slurpin' thugs that have been showing up around here as of late!

Benjy / September 5, 2003 9:35 AM

Do the packs of Trixies in capri pants and halter tops roaming Lincoln Park count as gangs?

Cinnamon / September 5, 2003 11:31 AM

All I know is the packs of predominantly white drunken male Cubs fans in Wrigleyville and the less experienced but just as drunk Loyola fratty boys that wander my current neighborhood make me more nervous than the random groupsof mostly non-white guys all wearing the same color tshirt with caps pulled low. The guys selling drugs in my neighborhood have asked me if I need a dime bag or an 8-ball on occasion and when I say, "Not my thing," they leave me alone. But the Cubs fans that have grabbed me and insisted that I join their stupid kegger parties, and the Loyola boys that have threatened to pee on me when I turned down their invitation to join their parties have made me a wee bit fearful.

brian / September 5, 2003 12:35 PM

I always find SUV-bashing funny - it's an odd case of holier-than-thou. Many of us assume that we're benign, that we aren't part of gentrification, that "I'm not a yuppie". There isn't an us vs them here. It's all us.

My current 'hood doesn't have a gang problem. It doesn't have a crime problem, or parking problem either. It's not the most exciting quarter of the city, but I'm happy, and I can still take the bus to get where I need to go.

My last place (Belmont & Milwaukee) didn't have rampant problems but we did hear gunfire on the streets a few times. One time my parents were there and freaked out when four shots were fired in the street. "Well can't you do something about it? Aren't you scared?"

No, and no. I choose to live in the city in part b/c I want to feel mortal (that doesn't mean I want to hear gunfire mind you) and I always feel safer walking home at night than I would if I had to drive around like most other parts of the county. Driving sure kills a lot more people I know than gangs.

amyc / September 5, 2003 1:53 PM

But I am, in fact, holier than SUV drivers. Especially the ones who double park in front of the Starbucks.

matt / September 5, 2003 4:37 PM

I live in Buena Park. I can check a definitive "no" in the gang-problem box and I feel that has much to do with the fact that Buena Park has a neigbor's Assc. that allows renters to attend meetings - we get free drink afterwords too. An eyeful and mindful community is an essential asset in big city such as this.

It seems like Wicker Park has zero neigborhood programs or CAPS innitiatives. Maybe they should.

stephen / September 5, 2003 5:34 PM

I live in Bucktown, and there wasn't much going on gang-wise until some fucknuts in a car hassled some kid about 50 yards from my place. The kid of foot proceeded to shot one of the fellows in the car, and they sped off and crashed into a stop sign a few blocks away. All of this happened while I was out running. My hood is fairly family-dominated, so usually that sort of shite is not tolerated. But that's been the only thing in the 3 or so years I've been thar. Really, any couple of idiots with guns can show up and shoot themselves up in any neighborhood. So you all watch yourselves no matter where you live.

shechemist / September 5, 2003 7:15 PM

well, every once in a while the western ave overpass (western/belmont/clybourn) gets tagged. last week it was tagged by the insane deucez who based on the upside down crown and the upside forks, I will make a wild guess they are part of the disciple nation. before there was latin king tags on the overpass and in the alley.

I'm not looking forward to a turf battle in my back yard, but I doubt it will get to that point.

my building never gets tagged. not even the detached garage. my building is dog friendly, and we have some big freaking friendly dogs.

overall I don't worry about it. I know my neighbors. I know the names of some of the people on the street one intersection over from walking my beasts. all the kids and teenagers around here know me and my dogs on sight. last month when I did catch some kids as they were breaking a truck window and I confronted them, they ran when I started asking them what they were doing. they couldn't be older than 12-13 and I had never seen them before.

I was impressed that within 5 mins, I yelled at them, they ran, I called the cops, they came and started looking for them. they didn't catch the little punks (who were white, if that matters?) the cops were on it, professional to talk to, found the owner of the truck, and didn't make me or the truck owner feel like we were wasting their time.

that was also the only time in my 2.5 years of living here I had called the cops.

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