As a Chicago resident I largely ignore the salacious crime reporting about the city, which routinely and blatantly ignores 1) that crime is actually down by nearly any measure and 2) that other American cities far outpace it in crime rates and focusing on Chicago is part of a political agenda.

That said, I'm not blind to the fact that the city obviously has problems. Those problems start with the CPD, which has so completely lost the trust of most residents who aren't white and 65 that cooperation between victims, neighbors, and police is nonexistent. Successive mayors' offices have been an even more significant problem, redlining areas of the city that are declared not worth saving and pouring resources into "good" areas.

My Avondale neighborhood is *not* some ultra-gentrified island of privilege. There are no Fancy Restaurants and we just got our first Hip Person Bar a couple months ago. I pay less than $1000 / month for a 2-br apartment, compared to the $1500-2000 that would cost in Wicker Park, Logan, or Lakeview. I am one of maybe five non-immigrants on my block, the vast majority being Polish or Mexican families who park their work trucks out front at night.

The neighborhood has not had a murder in four years. In a city of millions with something of a crime problem, that's amazing. It's not because I rub shoulders with real estate titans, Bears players, John Cusack, and Chance the Rapper. It's because the neighborhood is part of the city map that has not been written off by the city and county governments. The schools are open. The street lights work. The streets get plowed in the winter. Public Transit service is ample and works. OK, the streets themselves still look like they were recently bombed by the luftwaffe but you get the point.

Compare that to Garfield Park or West Lawn and it's not real hard to see the difference. This weekend, a staggering 66 people were shot in 48 hours, including one three-hour span with 30 shootings. That is an average of one every five minutes. Meanwhile, when I'm home I and my neighbors walk the streets at all hours.

People in the city understand that "the person who pulls the trigger" is ultimately to blame. But they also understand that the root cause of the chain of events leading to that is the underlying economics of race and class in the city. Close the schools, abandon the neighborhoods, refuse to hire "those people," and then act real surprised when gang activity becomes the primary form of entrepreneurship in blighted areas. Maybe don't resign yourself to two large swaths of the city being "blighted areas" and you might see less appalling crime statistics. Just a thought.

45 thoughts on “EVERY FIVE MINUTES”

  • Knox Harrington says:

    I’d give you a gold star for being such a progressive, thoughtful white person if I could. It really does amaze me that you seem to think that murders follow from an area being blighted rather than blight following the murders. Tell me, those immigrants you’re so proud to call your neighbors, are they doing the jobs that require an education or are they doing mostly physical labor? And how is it that the residents of the blight are so different from the mostly uneducated immigrants you’re so proud of?

  • Dear Knox Harrington:


    I think you'll want to check your local listings for the PBS special on the rise of out classist bigotry, xenophobia and proud WHITE racism. I think it might be called "After Charlottesville". I'm sure that they will have lots of references to groups (some of which you might already belong to) who feel the same way as you do.

    "Knox Harrington" Irish? with some Brit oppressor tossed in for good measure? You are aware that the Irish were sub-humans until their own political ascendancy?

    If you're actually not white, get your head examined.

  • Daley the Elder actually created the Dan Ryan expressway as physical barrier between whites and blacks. Toss in massive redlining, so the Southside of Chicago never had an opportunity to develop neighborhoods like normal cities.
    Under a grand for a two bedroom apt? Maybe this exiled Chicagoan can afford to return.

  • I took a class at UIC years ago , the instructor pointed at that Roseland was 99% white in 1965 and 99% black in 1975.
    Beyond the the racial issue, that means the entire neighborhoods population turned over in ten years. That does not create a stable neighborhood.

  • Rachel Biederman says:

    Thanks for posting this. I've always loved Chicago, just returned from a short vacation there with my 14-year old son. We enjoyed the city immensely. Redlining is pure evil and the residents of poor neighborhoods deserve better

  • "Those problems start with the CPD"

    Yes, and not with the people who pull up to a street party and open fire. Those people are victims of underlying racism!

  • Knox Harrington says:

    Knox Harrington is the name of a character in the big Lebowski. You know, the video artist?

    What makes you think I’m white? It’s astonishing how the people who don’t live in my community always know exactly what is wrong with my community. Don’t you ever think to yourself, “fuck, I really am a patronizing cunt?” Or is it always “how will people of color ever succeed without a white savior to come to the rescue?”

    Go buy some carbon offsets and let the rest of us solve our own problems.

  • My 79-year-old father lives in Schaumburg.

    Despite being otherwise pretty rational, he's convinced that downtown Chicago has turned into a violent post-apocalyptic wasteland straight out of Mad Max or Fallout.

  • I’m also an Avondale resident and can attest to no hesitation being out on the streets most any time. That said, I’m also aware of periodic events in the neighborhood going onto the police blotter, especially property crime. In contrast, the story I hear/read repeatedly from national news media is that Chicago (all of it?) is a veritable war zone. Just doesn’t hold up to my experience. Similarly, sometimes when I interact with a resident of the one of the tony north suburbs along Lake Michigan, he or she communicates a perception of the city that one is victimized (harassed, mugged, carjacked, shot, etc.) the moment one crosses into the city proper. Not sure what animates those fears besides being fanned and stoked constantly.

    I can’t really speak to abandonment of undesirable neighborhoods and their residents as lost causes except to note that the attitude is part of a much wider abandonment of the American people to their fates. Government no longer even pretends to be directed to the general welfare as noted, oh, I dunno, in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

  • I do not see, Knox Harrington, you "proposing any solutions". Instead, your post is basically a drive-by "racist elderly uncle" rant about "those people".

    So I would throw back your comment at you. Unless your underlying "solution" is the kind of "final" one fascists always fall back on.

  • Everyone knows Rahm Emanuel is one of the worst people in the world, right? He spent his tenure in the Federal government smashing welfare and watering down the Affordable Care Act, and now he's busy trashing Chicago. He's honestly up there with Dick Cheney and similar individuals in measurements of how much, over a long period of time, he has hurt America. Many individuals have done singular harmful acts. But relatively few have the distinction of a) always doing the evil thing, without exception, and b) longevity in public service. Emanuel is one of those elite members.


  • Oh, golly, Knox:

    I don't generally google any random commenter's name until at LEAST the 2nd time they dive back into hole they're digging.

    I don't give a fuck if you're black or white.

    If you're white, then you're being a dick and trolling.

    If you're black then you obviously are one of the "good ones" who agrees that p.o.c. are inferior human beings who deserve to be fucked over because they're NOT white.

    Either way, you're pretty fucking sad. Did I miss anything else?

    Do go fuck yourself.

  • @kong
    The area around Chicago Stadium in the 1970's likely inspired Mad Max. Now it looks like a mall.

    I think you and I covered this ground before: we likely crossed paths on the mean streets of Schaumburg 40+ years ago. My parents were white flighters from the Southside so anytime Ed says 'Southside' I am on it.

  • I live in a very nice suburb of Columbus OH. As medium sized cities go, Columbus is pretty low crime. Much lower than Cleveland or Cincinnati.

    My in-laws down in Vinton County, population 15,000 for the whole county, think that you get mugged or carjacked the second you cross the Columbus city limits.

  • I always thought of Chicago as a city of wards and ward healers. Even in the 1980s, it seemed that precinct captains were part of the pipeline up (votes) and pipeline down (goodies). Is that system still in place? Did it ever work that way in black neighborhoods?

    People forget that urban blight is the result of high level decisions, not some kind of magic. Cut off an arm with a torniquet, and the arm withers and rots.

  • Major Kong, my cousins in similarly-populated Sibley County, MN think the same of Minneapolis. This fear-stoking is key to a nationwide Republican agenda to demonize (and reduce the political power of) cities, because that's where Those People™* are.

    * Black, GLBTQ, and/or whatever suits a given pol's demagogic needs.

  • In Baltimore, we call the heroin trade “the Shadow Economy”. We’ve got the “blue light districts” and food deserts and neighborhoods where every 4th house is boarded up—and the city just pretty much sweeps it under the rug. Gee, I wonder why…

  • I often wonder about the violent crime problem in American cities. I think the framing of the issue by liberals and conservatives is rather dull. Liberals see the problem as white people are racist and conservatives see the problem as genetic inferiority. Though the latter is something conservatives dared not say aloud and used to blame Johnson's Great Society or someother malarky.

    I think, in all honesty, that Americans are not yet ready to have an open and honest discussion about the issue. Maybe one day you Americans will grow up just a little bit.

  • Gotta laugh at all the rightwing Nazis constantly pointing at Chicago when there's no shortage of really ugly white crime taking place all over the place as well. Just have a look at any police blotter with mug shots. It's enough to curl your toenails. My favorite is 'Florida Man'.

  • As far as whether blight causes murders more or murders cause blight you have to look at areas that used to be nice and went to shit. Did the going to shit happen first or was there a spike of murders before those areas went to shit?

    Well look out at oxycontin land and there was no spike in murders or any special increase in moral breakdown before those areas went to shit. They went to shit for basically economic reasons. Then after they turned into shit holes you got more drugs, crime and various other kinds of moral breakdown.

  • "Maybe one day you Americans will grow up just a little bit." LOL, yeah, right. Idiocracy here we come!! (Here we are.)

    Also, UNDER A GRAND FOR A 2BR APT IN CHICAGO?? I'm OUT. That's cheaper than NASHVILLE ffs!! And I HATE Nashville!! (What's that?? Snow covers the ground three months of the year?? Might still be worth it.)

  • The other factor: leaded gasoline and lead paint. Both concentrated in urban neighborhoods with high traffic volumes and old housing.

    Some researchers argue that the long term decline in violent crime in places like NYC can be partially attributed to the banning of leaded gasoline. Happily, I am sure the Trump era EEA (Environmental Exploitation Agency) will bring back profitable tetraethyl lead. Just because libtards!

  • My mom's (really my grandparents') white flight story from the south side of Chicago in the 50s and 60s was pretty stunning once I heard it: not only was it rapid, it was *unified*. She has a string of parishes that her family lived in over the course of ten or fifteen years, but what's more remarkable is that her friends followed basically the same string of parishes. They were all moving out in exactly the same direction and were basically just transplanting their whole neighbourhoods as they went, until they landed outside the city (in Oak Lawn) or, for the cops and firefighters, just barely still inside it (in Mount Greenwood).

  • Bosh: I think you are wrong. Obviously, the hippies and the 1960s and now the Gays caused the decline in Seeping Mine Waste, PA. (This IS the argument of some right wing scolds).

  • @ satrap:

    That feller's piehole amembers me of that tune by Pete Townshend ( I can't amember Who's band he was in, though) about such commentary, "Enema's Front" was the title, IIRC.

  • @MK, why do you think I wanna move to ORD?? It's not just the great museums and cheap diners.

    "According to the most recent crime data from the FBI, which covers the 2014 calendar year, the Memphis, TN-MS-AR metro area had the highest violent crime rate in both the south and the entire United States for the second year in a row. The Memphis metro area had approximately 1034 violent crimes per 100,000 people."


  • @geoff

    My job takes me to Memphis frequently. In addition to the crime, I think they're about the worst drivers in the country.

    Most people would pick Boston for that title but I've driven in Boston and it's nowhere near as bad. Boston drivers are aggressive to the point of being ruthless, but at least they're predictable.

    Memphis drivers are just random acts of "Where the f*ck did that come from?" Half of them are going 50 and the other half are going 90 and it just doesn't work.

  • Major Kong:

    Your last sentence describes California as well. Why do people insist on merging onto the freeway at 30 and evennnnnnnttttttttttualllly getting up (barely) to freeway traffic speed? Why do some people think the far left lane is really for driving 62 mph? Conversely, why is driving a massive battle tank 5 feet from my bumper at 80 a good thing?

  • Growing cities have people mixing the rules of the road of their various homelands, so Memphis has Boston drivers *and* rural Nebraska drivers *and* machismo-obsessed Florida drivers all in one toxic stew. (This is also why every military base has horrific driving around their community.)
    Boston started out large enough that there were a core of Boston drivers who could educate newcomers in their traditions (hate and spite, mainly) but the towns that have doubled in population in the last decade (looks around Portland) added new driving styles faster than the locals could absorb and… chaos.

  • @demo

    You just can't make this sh*t up!

    Not sure what the FAA requirements are for a private jet. They operate under a different part of the FARs (Part 91) than we do. I would expect that it at very least requires an annual inspection like any other private aircraft.

  • In Chicago, black=reduced city services. One example is street paving. As a kid in the sixties we went to Rainbow Beach up and back on 79th street. 79th was/is a commercial corridor and major arterial street. As the South Shore area turned majority black, 79th was not really maintained. The city might fill a pothole, but it was bad. It was that way until Harold Washington became mayor in the 80s, when parts of it were finally repaved. The north side and southwest side didn't seem to have that problem.

  • DETROIT (AP) — Calvin Johnson, one the most spectacular receivers in NFL history, retired from the Detroit Lions on Tuesday and rekindled memories of the way superstar running back Barry Sanders quietly stepped away from football.The 30-year-old Johnson called it a career after nine seasons filled with highlight-reel catches, dozens of touchdowns and nearly 12,000 yards receiving. The 6-foot-5 receiver was known as Megatron, a sign of respect for his imposing skills and unusual mixture of

  • Dear Ed. You’re so hurt by my commentary that you chose to delete it after you post an image of it (and hide those comments by the number of people who agreed) in order to sic the trolls on me, given that you lack the courage to engage me. And then you block me from responding so that there will be a free for all to disparage me. That’s very mature dude. If you lack the courage to engage with detractors, it says much more about you. No doubt you will delete this one to tough guy. And by the way, I’m under 50 snowflake.

  • Dear Ju:

    Coming into a thread 9 days after the last human posted (those last two before yours are bots) and leaving a nonsensical nonsequitir comment is the antithesis of maturity and courage.

    I'm not Ed but you may feel free to go fuck yourself.

    Oh, btw, I do check back on old threads from time to time, TROLL.

    Fuck off.

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