More on crime in Chicago - Text from a newsletter sent out in the Gold Coast
I’m writing to you regarding some of the major concerns I have with the incidents that took place during the
morning hours of Friday, August 2, 2013, which must be addressed immediately. I am the Property Manager for the
Eliot House Condominium Association at 1255 N. Sandburg Terrace (Clark St.) Our doorman reported that at
1:30am, a young male came into our building’s lobby, telling the doorman that he is being chased.
He stated that he needs to hide in our building and get into the inner lobby to be let upstairs to the floors. The
doorman told him that this is private property. He advised him that he needs to leave immediately. He then left our
building. Shortly after his departure, he was mugged and violently beaten with a hammer by a group of male
attackers in the street in front of the Jewel.
Our doorman had already called the police. An ambulance, the fire department and police cars arrived. Evan, the
doorman, reported that these men had clubs, as well as other weapons. That was the first incident.
The second incident occurred at approximately 4:05am. Four of these same males circled our building twice in an
old, beat-up, white car. Our doorman was outside in front of the building, to look to see that all was well. They
pulled up, stopped and looked at him.
Then, subsequently, they jumped out of the vehicle. They mugged two people who walked by our front entrance to
the lobby. The doorman reported that a few others ran onto the scene, throwing punches. People scattered and ran in
the direction of the Jewel. The doorman again called the police immediately.
An ambulance arrived. Thereafter, at approximately 4:21am, two of the men came back to our circular driveway in
front of the Eliot House, which is private property. They picked up torn shirts and glasses from the ground from the
earlier incident. They then came to the entrance to check out our lobby, as well as the doorman, staring at him
through the window.
Our doorman was brave enough to tell them to leave our private property immediately. Then they left. All parties
involved, including the person who was injured, seemed to be gang members.
The Eliot House doormen work the midnight shift alone from 12:00am to 8:00am. My concern is that this group
could come back to take retaliatory action against him for reporting them to the police since he has witnessed their
crimes and he could identify them. In addition to this, we have one parking attendant, who works alone in the garage
during the night hours.
When the doorman spoke to 911, they asked for his phone number, which he provided. No one ever called him back
to see if he was alright. Further, the police never came back to talk to him to find out what he has witnessed. It is a
major concern that the police department shows no interest in gathering facts to protect our community.
This is not the first incident that has occurred. Not too long ago, another midnight doorman reported that there was
gang activity with beatings at Clark and Goethe.
I am very concerned for all of our residents, their guests and our night staff. I’ve managed the Eliot House for
twenty two years. I have witnessed that the crime has increased tremendously over the past years in the area of Clark
We always hear in the media how much the Chicago police patrols have increased, including an improvement in the
crime. Quite to the contrary, I have found that the crime in this area has actually gotten worse, not better. We have
many dog owners in our high rise, who take their pets out during all hours of the night and morning, which cannot
be avoided. They are exposed to this unsafe environment, which is very concerning.
Mary McFarlin, CLSSYB • This wasn't from my building - but a building nearby, written by one of the property
managers. The crime is increasing in our area every year, yet we hear that crime is down. We get frustrated because
there is no follow up if you are a victim.
Paul Okrzesik • Hopefully that property will invest into indoor webcams, outdoor cams, sensor lights, and a sign
that says "If you can read this, you are under video surveillance."
Also I believe the economy has affected our police departments and they have had budget cuts as well. I would not
want to be a police officer in this day and age. They get my support.
Mary McFarlin, CLSSYB • The building does have cameras both inside and out as does the Jewel store, next door
to the building. Two woman were raped less than a month ago, only a few blocks away. And a friend of mine was
pulled into an alley while she was walking home from work at 5:00 pm. Luckily a good Samaritan helped her out. It
always gets worse when the weather gets warm. If you really want to get scared - sign in to "block by block"
Paul Okrzesik • Hopefully readers of these posts become and "stay aware" more so than be scared.
Times continue to change and we all need to act accordingly.
Accept things and still get involved in community efforts to fight back. Police will schedule a time to speak at your
local meetings. Check out Chicago Community Policing and CAPS.
Don't try to prove a point by saying, I grew up in this neighborhood and I am going to walk my dog at 2am when the
bars close and all the trolls are out.
I used to play at the park 8 hours unattended when I was 10 but would not allow my boy to do the same today.
No one deserves to be a victim.
"Be aware" that 1000s of crimes are committed every week in Chicagoland.
Start here -https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/Get%20Involved/How%20CAPS%20works
Mike Hattie • Get involved with CAPS? Get some self-defense contacts to the meetings? Self-defense is not just
about fighting. It is about awareness, recognition and avoidance of personal risk situations. Your neighborhood can
be won back. I'm sorry to hear about the recent problems. That is really scary.
Craig Johnson • Kent I would agree with you on the technology needed, I was one with the company the originally
designed and implemented the "Blue Light" cameras. They were at the time highly integrated, had again at the time
good analytics. However maintenance and growth cost money. Something the City and especially CPD doesn't have.
They do have CLEAR which was state of the art; it's been added to and updated. Technology is only one part.
Weather does have an effect unless you listen to McCarthy. Overall crime is down and so is the size of the police
department. Yes more officers are on the street, but they are patrolling the South and West side to keep the murder
Next, it's not that the police don't care, trust me they do. But they are so overburdened with major crimes that doing
a wellness check isn't high on the list. Also contrary to popular belief the police have no duty to protect individuals
(Warren v. District of Columbia).
If your individual safety becomes an issue you must learn self-defense. The condo complex in the message may
need to hire physical security to augment the cameras. We will get to a time when unless there is an immediate
immanent threat to life the police will just enter it in the database. (It's already happening in some districts. If it's not
life safety related the resident is supposed to file the paper work in person at the station.)
I know Chicago has strict gun laws and has for years and many won't agree with this, but when the bad guy knows
the victim is a law abiding citizen, the victim becomes an easy target. So learn self-defense in Chicago it's you're
only legal weapon.
Winston Drake • These criminals are mobile and a police presence means they look elsewhere.
They are here because lack of car and ped traffic to report them. Can you see
what the cameras are seeing? If you can call the police yourself the more calls
the more likely action will be taken. In your area there is student traffic at all hours
and that is one of their prefer victims. Keep on your guard and pay attention to
your surroundings and if you see people in a parked car out of place for example
call 311 and report it. The more reports the more likely action will be taken.
Mary McFarlin, CLSSYB • Jan and I are looking into self-defense courses to offer the group for free. It really is
important and the police can't be everywhere at all times. However, we need to begin sending the "message" that
we're not putting up with it. The police aren't the only answer. We're going to have to be a whole lot more creative if
we are to make a dent. We need to be committed and work with the police.
Clark Maxwell • We lived in that area about ten years ago, and things were getting "bad" then. We moved not so
much to run away from "crime" but from our point of view, the area was not the best environment for school-age
children with both parents working.
That said, in our observation there were three situations that contributed to issues in the area. First, the high
Diane Parker Palmer • The construction underway on Division, with walls of chain link fence cordoning off traffic
moving west at Clark Street, creates an isolated space at Clark and Division ... a perfect gathering place for
criminally-inclined gang banger types. If I were walking west on Division from State, I would find myself facing a
chain-link dead end ... with nowhere to run for help.
My first reaction to this news was that the doorman in the Sandberg building, however brave, should NEVER
NEVER NEVER have turned away the man seeking help. The man should have been allowed to stay in the OUTER
lobby and the police should have been called IMMEDIATELY, while someone kept an eye on the man waiting for
those police in the out lobby.
When a high-rise summons the fire department, hook-and-ladders come blazing down to help in seconds, their sirens
wailing while the caller is still on the phone ... and in great numbers, several vehicles on the scene before you can
count to 25. Why? The potential loss to PROPERTY and, oh yes ... life, of course, the true afterthought.
Our police department ... located DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from the very same fire department facility
at Larabee and Division that reacts instantly to fire alerts, should be able to respond as quickly. WHY NOT is the
question. And that there is not a valid, immediate response is an outrage!
Everyone on the street at night should carry something like a megaphone in their hand. Is there AN APP for this?
Why not? Some creative type out there ... Heads Up! There's a need!! And the APP should summon the police,
communicate the location and have a video running of the surrounding space to catch criminal activity online,
broadcast to the police department.
We can find out what someone orders online and direct advertising to them in seconds. But personal security? If
there's no profit motive ... there's no motive
Stephen Alpert • Illinois CCW coming soon. Think about it folks.
Diane Parker Palmer • Carrying a concealed weapon is responding to the threat of violence with the potential to
inflict more violence. While certainly an alternative, it is a shame that THIS alternative is the only viable one out
Me, with a gun in my purse, means I can take it out and aim it at my accoster. It ALSO means I can get knocked
down, the gun taken from my hand, and be shot by a formerly unarmed criminal ... who can then run off with my
weapon and shoot someone else.
A concealed weapon is a poor alternative, ideologically, but in the world of reality, to many it is worth the risk.
The answer is to creative viable alternatives. Really, it is.
Clark Maxwell • As for the gun, I would say, to each his own, if that makes you feel better. But I wouldn't call
more people with no experience or proper perspective carrying guns a solution on its own.
Scott Haugh • This is certainly troublesome. First thing to realize is that the police will seldom arrive in time to stop
a crime. Response time on 911 calls are several minutes. Most crimes take about 30-90 seconds to commit. Police
If someone is intent on inflicting violence on you and you cannot get away to somewhere safe, the only logical
choice is to respond by defending yourself. So the real bottom line is that you have to be responsible for yourself,
your family and your neighbors.
When CCW gets here, it could have some impact as it has in several states that implemented it. Just the uncertainty
of who has a gun and who doesn't has historically had a deterrent effect. Not sure that will be the case in higher
income, traditional liberal areas of the city as the criminals know most in these areas abhor weapons. Just a fact to
Look at the Lifeline Response app. My daughter has this at college. Could scare some away and possibly get faster
response, especially if no one notices the crime right away. Also consider a good pepper spray gun. Kimber, a
firearms manufacturer, makes a pepper spray gun that shoots about 12-15 feet even in wind and disables attacker for
about 30 minutes.
As previously suggested, be aware, but have an way to defend yourself.
John Buckley • Diane, you've heard the statement "If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
A concealed weapon shouldn't be your only option. Many people have already said that awareness of your
surroundings is first. Just having your head up, looking around and being aware signals predators that you are not
easy prey. Being aware will prevent you from walking into dead ends and other traps.
Android Apps: Light Shocker+, SIREN SOUND SMS, Self Defense Alarm. I haven't tried any of them but they are
there. I'm sure there are iPhone apps too. (Good suggestion! Smartphones are in our hands most of the time
Good self-defense classes like Krav Maga will teach confidence, awareness and good instinctive methods of fending
off and escaping attacks. There are many good self-defense schools in the Chicago area.
Finally, if you feel that you are in danger of death or serious bodily injury, a gun with good training can save your
life. Guns are used ten of thousands of times every year to scare off attackers WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT.
Predators are looking for easy prey. Look for NRA Refuse to be a Victim and other self-defense with a handgun
classes. Watch a few of these short videos: http://bit.ly/1cFbmkM .
Invest in your safety, get good training.
Stephen Alpert • I won't get into the liberals vs. conservatives approach to guns but I do agree that when CCW
comes, the bad guys will wonder who has one and who doesn't...even on Michigan Ave. In Florida, street crime
went down 40% when CCW was implemented. So to each his or her own approach to the problem.
Ruth Wilson • Unfortunately, Chicago is becoming a dangerous place to live. I would shutter to say that all cities
are undergoing various incidents such as this. Stay aware of your surroundings and follow your gut feelings about
walking and driving down such streets.
Stephen Alpert • One more thing...all this self-defense classes and pepper spray stuff makes me laugh. This is
Chicago...the bad guys have guns. So should you.
John Buckley • Scott, you reminded me about Lifeline Response. I had it for my daughter when she was away at
school. It is now available for more than just on-campus. Not free, but not expensive either. Well worth the cost. It
made my daughter feel safe. GOOD SUGGESTION.
Pepper spray: don't go cheap; the aerosol sprays can blow back on you and cause more problems. The Kimber
device is great; I got my daughter one of those too.
Nancy Solomon • I've served on our condo board. We've been self-managed and employed a management
company. Based on my experience, I would expect the management company and the association to come up with a
plan to institute and pay for additional security ASAP. How about a rent-a-cop for now? Sitting around and
expecting someone else to do the work is not a great option. I hope there are residents who have already put on their
grown up pants to engage in protecting their neighborhood. It's a pain in the butt, but residents can also create a
resident lobby and parking garage watch. It costs them time rather than money -- or at least less money. As scary as
that might sounds, it's been my experience that thugs go elsewhere when there are enough eyes -- and phones with
cameras -- around. At the same time, the residents of the neighborhood need to bombard their alderman and the
mayor for better protection. They need to email, write, call, visit. The Gold Coast is NOT a poor neighborhood.
Many of the people who live there have money and influence. They need to demand service. Considering the el
stops and bars, it's outrageous that the area is not better policed. Getting more involved in CAPS is a good idea. The
property management company can be a leader and a partner in this endeavor.
Diane Parker Palmer • I like the app suggestions Scott! And certainly I agree with awareness and common sense
precautions, mentioned repeatedly here at the outset of this discussion. When face to face with an attacker in a dark
alley, however, I must admit I would prefer to have a gun.
Thing is, I wouldn't be caught dead out late at night, alone, in the dark. I have a dog, but am not inclined to take
risks. I chose to live where I do for safety reasons as much as anything else.
But now, suddenly this safe place isn't necessarily so safe, even at two in the afternoon, in broad daylight. Carrying a
weapon, or the possibility that I might be, would serve as a deterrent to many potential offenders, I would hope. I
could get training to use it properly, but even trained agents have been known to panic or freeze when confronted
with personal violence.
A much better solution is instant access to help ... and what a tragedy it is that this option is an unrealistic, Pollyanna
option. Now, at least.
Mary McFarlin, CLSSYB • It can be dangerous during the day and has been. You ALWAYS need to be especially
careful when crossing alleys. I see so many people walking with their headphones on, not paying attention.
Stephen Alpert • A couple of weeks ago my gf and I were shopping on Michigan Ave. I was shocked to see all the
women who were flashing huge diamonds on the street. When you do that you are making yourself a target. That's
why the criminals are now on Michigan Ave. Be smart.
Zoran Jovanovic • I agree with Stephen, Unfortunately we live in a state that does not care for the right of law
abiding citizens. They are stone walling legislation for our right to protect ourselves and our inept Gov and States
attorney are always trying to infringe on your right as a citizen by not letting you protect yourself. Their argument is
that there will be "more violence". Guess what!! it is already that way. There is no deterrent at all.
Patricia Diane Carrera • I have lived in Chicago my entire life and it makes me sad to see how crime is growing at
higher levels every day. We all have to be on guard extra cautious of our whereabouts. Society has to work together
and government has to put stronger controls on criminal actions starting with the use of weapons and drugs. We
have so many tourists that come to visit we all need to have better safety controls.
Diane Parker Palmer • I really liked the idea of communities having their own volunteer security services, ala
Trayvon Martin case ... but that's so easy to abuse, as we all so clearly saw! There has to be a way to establish a
protective presence, without letting loose a band of hot-heads bent on over-reaction.
As is becoming evident with all these posts, looking out for yourself with some common sense precautions is the
ONE thing we can control. Stephen's point about the jewelry we wear and when that's just not appropriate is a good
one. We as Americans value our freedom, though, and some will simply refuse to be intimidated into changing their
lifestyles ... As Dylan says ... Trust Yourself. And be careful!
Bill Van Emburg • I have been active in my local CAPS meetings and started a neighborhood watch.
Unfortunately, the police have not really been all that helpful in making it work.
In my direct experience, the police lack the follow-up that would help reduce crime, e.g., actually talking to the
doorman who witnessed the crimes in the example above. I have personally found it virtually impossible to get any
meaningful follow-up to crimes in my neighborhood, even when we provide pictures of the criminals, caught in the
Sadly, the legal system that comes after the arrest isn't any better. One of my neighbors is a police officer, and he
has found that criminals he arrested and who admitted the crime and/or were caught with solid evidence still end up
back on the street in short order. If there are no real consequences, how can the police deter criminals?
Unfortunately, I don't have good answers. I've tried to come up with those "creative solutions" mentioned above. It's
difficult to make something work. Don't expect much support from the police. And, if you do not live in a visibly
high-crime neighborhood, don't expect much support from your neighbors, either. Apathy kicks in fast, even after a
violent street crime has been committed.
Sadly, situational awareness and self-defense have been the only effective measures I've seen to date. That, and
sometimes, neighbors do come to the aid of their fellow man. I have seen reports in my neighborhood of a few
people who really go out of their way to help someone being attacked, chasing down the criminals and holding them
until the police arrive.
Craig Johnson • Being aware of your surroundings is important, but don't be afraid to look people in the eyes. From
my experience it usually scares the crap out of them and they leave you alone.
Where I live we have a community watch. Since I'm in the video surveillance business I have installed many
outdoor cameras for my neighbors in which the entire neighborhood has access to view. Overkill maybe, but it
provides a "sense" of security. As commented above above investing a little of your time and not expecting someone
else to do it for you can go a long way.
Also, Diane please don't take offense but the guys in the fire department (Engine Co. 4) across the street from where
"Cabrini-Green's 61 Macs" used to stand live in the fire house and can roll quickly. Hopefully the police at District
18 are out on their beat and not sitting in the station waiting for a call. Both teams are responsive, the police try to be
proactive, but the citizen is the first line of defense. (Side note: Things do change quickly. Take for example where
61 Macs used to stand there is now a beautiful complex in which many of the people living in "White Wall" and the
"Reds" could only dream about.)
Hugh Hamill Jr. • Hi Folks.....as a born & raised, life-long Chicagoan growing up running through the gangways of
the West Side, I have come to recently realize that Chicago is a lost cause.....Street Gangs run the streets...not the
Police....over 120 shot over the 4th!.....our Pols support the Gangs (See recent Chicago Mag article) and over 65% of
our city is covered by Street Gang Territory and growing by the day.....and the Gold Coast / Mag Mile has become
their new favorite feeding ground. This is what killed Detroit...crooked Pols, insane deficits / taxes and
overwhelming crime in the streets and in our schools......do yourselves a favor and get out of this cesspool while the
getting is good......this City & State aren't going to get any better.......Bagdad is safer today than Chicago!!!!....but in
the meantime....get a gun & learn to defend yourself....unless you really enjoy being raped or beaten senseless with a