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.