Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hood Heats Up

Well, even though the temperature isn't that high, summer is here in the hood. Last night there must have been about 15 kids up at the north end of the block arguing loudly and semi-fighting with each other. At first I thought it was Jay-Z's family two doors up, so I ignored it, but it got really loud and there were so many voices I figured it had to be more serious. I peeked out the window and saw the mob of kids pushing somebody against a neighbor's wooden privacy fence, so I called 911. I'm not convinced the police ever came.

Eventually I heard a male adult voice telling people very calmly to go home, but I figured that might have been one of the neighbors either from this block or the next block up. Things calmed down after that, then got loud again, then subsided for the night.

Someone I know north of 47th had a much worse experience yesterday. She lives by 46th and Wood, near Seward Elementary and Holy Cross Church, and apparently the bulding next door to her is run by a negligent landlord who doesn't screen tenants and doesn't make repairs. There's a woman renting there who is dating a Latin King. My friend's husband was outside putting new license plates on the car when he was harassed by about 20 gangbangers. They are still not sure whether it was a case of mistaken identity or what, but someone flashed the husband a gang sign. He didn't respond and suddenly this giant group of guys were chasing him down. He ran in the house, locked the door, and told his wife to come upstairs. The guys smashed glass and broke through a steel door to get in the house. The couple called 911 three times and had to wait 20 minutes before police arrived at the scene. Fortunately, she and her husband are physically find--the cops did arrive before the gangbangers reached them, but just barely. And their house looks like it's been in a war zone, she tells me.

"How can that happen in a city?" she asked me. "We might as well not have police at all." She has been trying to contact her alderman's office--it's Willie Cochran, 20th Ward--without a response so far. After all the nice things I said about him recently I'm sorry to hear his office hasn't responded to her yet.

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