September 15, 2011

The Alderman Speaks About Violence

At last, the 49th ward alderman has chosen to put a few words on the Internet (click headline) about the latest violent act at Pratt and Ashland. A few weeks ago, a 23 year old was shot and killed by one of three teenagers at Bosworth and Jonquil. Neighbors sent emails and made phone calls to the ward office voicing their outrage that there was no statement from Mr. Moore. There were also complaints about a shrine tended in the wee hours of the morning by a vehicle blocking the intersection blaring loud music. Still, we heard the sound of silence from the ward office.

Now, a few weeks later, a shooting incident south of the North of Howard area has sparked a thread on Chicago.Everyblock.com starring the alderman. It's a great site and I hope the readership is huge. I hope more neighbors will sign up for email updates from every post because there are some very interesting witnesses to violence, gangs, drugs and general frustration felt in Ward 49.

It may be a tiny step but it's more than we've had before. Now when Joe can send out an email blast that he is going to crack down on slumlords harboring known anti-social elements/criminals living in subsidized housing I may volunteer to be on that committee! My requests to him resulted in sending his chief of staff to 'meet and walk around the area' with the managers or owners of the some of the problem buildings here. To paraphrase my question "...and the result was?" "Oh, we have to establish a relationship first". That is more or less the end of that story.

Certainly, everyone is entitled to an opinion and the usual supporters have commented about this great North of Howard neighborhood. What was ommitted was the number of times they have been victims of muggings! Indeed, crime is everywhere, but we seem to have more than our share in this tiny 2x6 block area. Of course, there are other pockets of crime and problem buildings scattered throughout the ward but that's the key word - scattered. This area is too small to properly apply the term scattered. It's packed with social service agencies, subsidized buildings, storefront churches, broken promises and the long term result of enabling. The code of silence or apathy runs deep here. Tenants and owners alike are not too involved until the problem is on their front steps.

Just nudge me when a real 49th ward email blast comes out about crime instead of the happy hour Fridays, the next TV appearance, the budgeting process, etc. There's no such thing as 100% so let's deal with the problems too.

5 comments:

Bill Morton said...

establish a relationship first? Does that mean campaign contributions to Citizens for Joe Moore?

Nikki said...

I've lived here in NoHo for 2+ years and have never been mugged. As a matter of fact, I've never even felt threatened of being mugged.

Toni said...

Nikki - hopefully you're not out very late at night up here - muggings happen everywhere - especially when people aren't paying attention, preoccupied with texting, plugged into their music, etc. They're walking target$.

Toni said...

Bill - I think it was a temporary pacifier for me and a chance for chief of staff to meet them. However, one would think the discussion of problem tenants would have been brought up. The police can't handle that issue - only the owner/manager.

Oddly enough, when some neighbors contact the ward office about a problem building there are meetings held at the ward office with neighbors and owner to discuss problems and find solutions. When people NOH ask the same request of their public officials, we get either no response or a meet and greet.

Fargo said...

Everyblock has the potential to be a great community resource.

And I can tell you from personal experience that muggings can happen anywhere. It's never happened to me in Rogers Park, because I make an effort to be aware of my surroundings. The one time I was gotten was in a quiet area (other part of the city) where I least expected it, and I was NOT paying full attention. Lesson learned.