Thursday, August 2, 2007

Stiffs in the Grass: Update

Well, if such can be called good news, the stiff found in the grass on Monday morning is officially being ruled a suicide. This thanks to The Herald, which is apparently capable of occasionally breaking a story, even if the headline still has a bouquet of L'Onion: "Man's body found on Hyde Park Sidewalk." (The Hyde Park Herald, p. 10, August 1, 2007). Even better would be "Local man's body found on Hyde Park sidewalk."

Or course, none of this competes with The Herald's all-time greatest headline, sometime in August of 2006, which went something like: "Electrocuted squirrel causes Co-Op power failure."

Anyway, back at Algonquin, it is a shame that someone felt they had to end things that way. But at least there isn't another psycho roaming the towers of Indian Village.


Famac said...

I saw a blue bumper sticker "Save the Point of Impact" today.

Peter Rossi said...

Let's be careful about hysteria over "crime" in our community. We live in a city. People are going to commit suicide and get robbed from time to time. The big news is that crime (against both persons and against property) is way down over the last twenty years or so.

There has recently been a series of rapes in the Lakeview/Lincoln Park area. This has happened before. No one says -- "oh my god, I have to leave LP. It's getting too dangerous." But if that happened in our neighborhood, it would touch off quite a brushfire.

chicago pop said...

This post was intended more for "local flavor," especially for the north side of HP-K crowd. It's true that this crime, a suicide, isn't representative of much. But having lived in Lincoln Park for a number of years, I know I definitely have to watch my back more down here, and the violent crime in surrounding neighborhoods just a few miles away is quite alarming. So, despite nation-wide average declines, local differences remain important quality-of-life issues.

For me, crime ties into the purpose of HPP in the following way: by keeping businesses and density out, by seeking to preserve a sort of "small town" feel (in the middle of a big City, and a ghetto) the Establishment unwittingly makes it dangerous to walk around at certain times of day. More pedestrian activity around the clock, more "eyes on the street" as Jane Jacobs would say, and more development in neighborhoods surrounding HP-K would do much to discourage the kind of predatory street crime that happens much more often down here.

Peter Rossi said...

We lived for many years in Depaul area of Lincoln Park. We witnessed armed roberries on the street in front of our house and numerous car thefts (the street was covered with window glass each morning). We moved to HP in 1986. Since then we have not witnessed any crime. People in HP overplay the crime stuff. There is no question that street crime in HP has declined dramatically. Auto theft is virtually non-existent. It used to be a major problem. The policy beat section of the Herald used to cover most of one page. Now it is a few paragraphs.

chicago pop said...

I don't question the improvement you describe and give you major street cred for having lived near DePaul in the 70s/80s when it was rough. Much of the improvement there and here since then is due to exactly the kind of urban reinvestment that we both want more of, including the commitment of major institutions to their neighborhoods.

I see the link between lower crime and reinvestment as worth making, though I agree that hysteria is to be avoided. Chicago is doing well over all, even in it's poorer areas. A lot of this is attributable to the CHA tearing down high-rise public housing in the vicinity of the neighborhood. A lot of gang problems have consequently been displaced -- together with the poorest of the poor -- to south Chicago and inner ring suburbs, and smaller towns downstate. Another cause is reinvestment in residential areas and revitalization of old industrial/commercial ones.

Cities that have not done as well as Chicago in re-fashioning themselves, particularly second-tier Midwestern cities, have not been so lucky in dissolving cores of hard-core social pathology. (Violent Crime in Cities Shows Sharp Surge, NYT March 9, 2007:

So yes, I agree that we should avoid getting hysterical over crime, which has improved overall across the City and in HP-K. But it can improve even more if we allow the fabric of this area to be repaired through reinvestment which so many want to block.

Repo Man said...

Where do you guys live? I see crime frequently in HP, and I live in the center of the neighborhood.