Chicago violence is overwhelming police capabilities and spreading beyond gang strongholds
Carl Sandburg indelibly dubbed Chicago "hog butcher for the world," though swine are no longer[i] massacred there. But slaughter remains part of the city's global image, as every weekend sees multiple deaths from gang warfare (this weekend's total is 6 dead, 35 wounded). Until recently, the remaining affluent tax-paying residents, the ones occupying expensive condos and townhouses near the lake, for instance, were able to comfort themselves that the bloodshed was largely confined to a couple of districts to the south and west of their Northside enclaves.
That assumption is crumbling, as CWB Chicago reports gang warfare at one of the city's crown jewels, on the lakeshore just north of downtown and Lincoln Park:
Shootout Near Lakefront Golf Course Stuns Duffers: "There was definitely a handgun and a shotgun and they fired back and forth," Cop Says
A gang-related shootout on the lakefront left Lakeview golfers stunned, but nobody injured Sunday morning at the Sydney Marovitz Golf Course parking lot, according to witness reports and police sources.
No one is in custody.
Gunfire between rival gang members erupted around 8:10 a.m. apparently after one man approached another and asked for his affiliation.
Multiple witnesses reported that one man fired a shotgun and the other fired a handgun in the conflict which unfolded at the east end of the parking lot. Shell casings were recovered at the scene.
A policeman on scene stated that "there was definitely a handgun and a shotgun and they fired back and forth."
It is bad enough that gang warfare is spreading to the affluent lakefront. But the thieves, who were spotted driving away in luxury cars – an Acura and a Beemer – got away. Even worse:
About 30 minutes after the gunfire, golfers summoned police to the course after seeing two men who were in the area of the shooting ducking in and out of brush along Marovitz's east fence line.
A carload of men was stopped nearby, but the city's link to a national crime database was offline, and officers could not verify the occupants' identities, gang affiliations, or warrant information, according to an officer.
"If that's not officer safety issue, I don't know what is," one said.
Witnesses to the shooting refused to help cops determine if any of the car's passengers were involved in the gun incident and officers were forced to set the carload of men free.
CWBChicago later verified through a source that at least one occupant of the car is a 17-year-old member of the La Raza street gang.
We see the elements of a complete breakdown of civil order brewing.
- Police: Organizational decay leading to incompetence.
- Public fear of gangs dries up witnesses.
- Gangs (the wolves) are dividing up the territory (the sheep) as opportunity beckons.
As for point 1, the website Second City Cop is an invaluable source for charting the decline of police capability there. It comments this morning:
The LEADS system has been down for two or more days now, rendering the entire Department incapable of running plates, verifying licenses, checking names. And no word on when it will be back.
LEADS is the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System, meaning that the CPD is working in a pre-internet mode, cut off from the information revolution.
On points 2 and 3, CWB Chicago provides photos of gang tags at the golf course:
"Rival gang tags mark the lakefront wall just steps from this morning's shooting scene. Photo from June 2017."
"More gang tags at the lakefront near today's incident. The photo was taken earlier this month."
The ongoing gang violence has pulled police resources away from the city's more affluent areas, creating an opportunity there for thugs from districts of the city populated by large numbers of youths who grew up without fathers.
Gangs already openly gather for parties where the law is flouted, as police are so outmanned and outgunned that they give up and acknowledge a lawless territory within their purview. A precedent exists for far worse, if the vector continues.
The City of Chicago is poised on the slippery slope toward criminal anarchy, the likes of which we associate with Johannesburg, São Paulo, and other third-world megacities where personal safety cannot be assumed when in public.
[i] That industry has shifted to rural areas for the lowest possible wages and transport costs.