Wednesday, September 27, 2006

HPH: Crime Report

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HPH: Bank robber missing, despite dye pack

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What if I want to move because of crime?

If you feel you live in an unsecure location, is it possible to move because of crime in the area or beacuse you have been the victim of crime? Ed Sacks of the suntimes answers this question.

Q. I was recently mugged on a weekday afternoon on a fairly busy corner directly outside my Hyde Park apartment building. My wife and I are looking to relocate. The management of our facility made it clear they will not cancel our lease. What are our options?

A. There are several options. Find a substitute tenant. The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance permits tenants to provide a sublet. The landlord's written permission to switch is needed. The CRLTO requires the landlord accept the replacement as long as the new tenant meets the same criteria used to approve the existing tenant. Costs of finding the substitute are up to the current tenant.

If the lease does not contain a copy of the CRLTO Summary, the tenant can terminate the lease immediately, after written notice, and must leave within 30 days. The CRLTO also allows for lease termination when unit or building conditions are so horrible that the place is not reasonably fit or habitable. A written notice and waiting periods of 72 hours to 14 days to cure is required, depending on the condition.

Illinois landlords have limited responsibilities to their tenants when it comes to actions of third parties. Unless the landlord knew and failed to inform you that your corner was more dangerous than elsewhere in the neighborhood, you have no viable cause to break your lease.

Some streets and communities have more violence, some have less. It is the tenant's duty to determine whether the neighborhood is satisfactory and to take care. Landlords can be held liable when they make promises about security they do not keep, or fail to disclose and address known hazards likely to cause injury, or undertake voluntary actions to provide security but fail.

Dogs as crime prevention in Hyde Park

I love to walk at night, but don't often feel comfortable having a relaxing stroll late at night in Hyde Park. One exception was when my sister's bulldog came to stay with me for a weekend. I was amazed at how scared people were of dogs, and I felt like everyone was giving me a wide berth. This is the opposite reaction than I am used to in the suburbs, where everyone wants to come pet the dog. Is walking with a dog an adequete form of crime prevention?

Murder and Mugging

*I apologize for the delay in the following posts:

**At 11:18 a.m., Thursday, September 21, near 63rd Street and Cottage
Grove Avenue,* a man approached a second man from behind, shot and
killed him. The unknown offender then fled in a green four door Ford
Crown Victoria. Police are investigating.

*At 4:59 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, on South Blackstone Avenue between
58th and 59th Streets, a man was walking when he passed another man
walking in the other direction. The second man then grabbed the first
from behind, displayed a gun, demanded and took his money, and fled.
Police are investigating.*

Monday, September 18, 2006

Look for a 1996 gold Cadillac licence #6616856

Police believe that it is likely that the following two incidents were
committed by the same three offenders:

*At 8:10 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15, on East 57th Street in front of
Regenstein Library, a man was confronted by three men who knocked him to
the ground, demanded his cell phone, took same, and fled. The victim
did not require medical attention.

At **8:17 p.m.**, Friday, Sept. 15, in the quadrangle just east of
Regenstein Library, a woman was walking when she observed two men run
past her. Seconds later a third man ran up from behind her, pushed her
down, repeatedly punched and kicked her, grabbed her purse, and fled
with it. He and the first two men entered a 1996 gold Cadillac
(**Illinois** licence # 6616856) driven by a fourth man, and the group
fled. The victim was treated and released from a hospital. Police are

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sexual assault on Monday at Kenwood and 52nd

*Between 6:45 and 7:05 a.m., Monday, September 11, (reported on
September 12) on South Kenwood Avenue between Hyde Park Blvd. and 52nd
Streets, a woman was leaving her residence when she was confronted by a
man who forced her against a gate and fondled her. He fled with the
victim's lunch container when a passerby happened on the scene. The
offender was described as an African American in his 20's, about 5'10",
with a strong body odor and bad breath, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt
and blue jeans. Police are investigating.*

Monday, September 11, 2006

To the asshole who mugged me last night: a Hyde Park heroine

A tale of an audacous mugging and some bravery in the face of it from a stalwart Hyde Parker. My heroine!

Somy says:
To the asshole who mugged me last night:
...I bet your idiot self didn't think I'd fight back. I'm glad you've got a felony on your back for the sake of hitting a girl and getting an empty purse out of it.
Background story: We all live downstream: A note on my sister being mugged
Somy was mugged on Saturday evening (she's ok). She was walking home around 11pm on 55th Street in Hyde Park (the busy street where she lives in old apartment) with her roommate and her roommate's ~50 year old mother who doesn't speak English. There were other people around, and they were two blocks from a police station. These two men came up to the three of them and cut them off on the sidewalk. One bent down to tie his shoelace in front of them, so they walked around. He got up and tried to flirt with Somy, who refused him (go girl), and then somehow, she ended up being slammed on the ground (so hard, that her snake bracelet that she acquired on the night David proposed and then teased my grandmother and scandalized the local parish priest with, got flattened...) and he snatched her purse! Somy and her roommate assume this was unplanned, as the other friend just kind of stood there, even as his friend ran off (then he ran off when Somy's roommate and her mother started screaming, etc). Somy fought back (go girl) and wouldn't let go of her purse, so she ended up being dragged along the sidewalk/grass (and her dress rode up, hehe, wedgie...sorry, I can laugh about this because she's ok and because of what happened next), AND HER WALLET (WITH MY LISENCE) FELL OUT (which she didn't realize at the time. She let go after a few seconds because she didn't know where she was being dragged, and her roommate ran and picked up all that fell out). And then, they all immediately walked to the police station and filed a police report.

So, this guy ended up with...basically nothing. He now is faced with robbery and assault charges (since Somy was bleeding and badly scraped from being dragged. Again, go girl). And, he has a cheap purse, makeup, and a crappy cellphone (she was getting a new one soon) that Somy promptly canceled. Mwuahahaha. Take that asshole. Talk about NOT WORTH IT. You didn't even get the wallet, fucker. (Although, feel free to return the I-pod and MY camera memory card that David gave me last year --the one I retrieved from the river while punting and has our India pictures on it!)

Somy: 1
Stupid guy: 0

I know I sound a bit angry, because I am! I am tired of HAVING BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO THE PEOPLE I AM CLOSEST TO. I am tired of reading about men assaulting women (and other men) in papers or hearing about men taking advantage of women from friends and family. I am tired of being suspicious of every man that looks at me. I am tired of being the "weaker" sex.

Sorry, I don't mean to lash out at men right now...I know I love my father and fiance very much. But, let's see, David was mugged six months ago, and now Somy. Neither of them were drunk, "asking for it," running around alone at 3am in the morning, or in terrible neighborhoods, either.

And, I can't help but wonder, when's my turn?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Man held in kidnapping, molestation of boy, 16

A Hyde Park man was ordered held in lieu of $300,000 bail Sunday after
he was charged in the robbery, kidnapping and sexual abuse of a teenage boy.

Patrick L. Starks, 39, was driving in the 5100 block of South Lake Park
Avenue Thursday afternoon and approached a 16-year-old high school
student walking to a friend's house, said Cook County Assistant State's
Atty. Brad Giglio.

Starks trailed the boy for a short distance and then pointed a handgun
at him, motioning him into the vehicle, Giglio said. They went to
Starks' apartment in the 5200 block of South Harper Avenue, where Starks
stole $6 and personal items and molested him, the prosecutor said.

Starks demanded more money, and the boy said he could get more if Starks
took him to the home of a family friend, Giglio said.

Once there, the boy fled and told friends what had happened to him,
Giglio said.

They called police, who arrested Starks near his apartment about 8:30 p.m.

Starks was charged with one count each of aggravated robbery, aggravated
criminal sexual abuse and aggravated kidnapping.

Friday, September 08, 2006

More details on Wednesday's sexual assault

Police on Friday were searching for a man who sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman in Hyde Park about a block from the University of Chicago campus.

The assault occurred around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 5800 block of South Kenwood Avenue, police said in a community alert. The man approached the victim and a friend and announced a robbery, implying that he had a gun.

When the victims said they had no money, the offender frisked her and assaulted her, then threatened to shoot the victims.

The offender was described as an African-American male between the ages of 18 and 23, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 to 200 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair in braids and a dark complexion. He was last seen wearing a T-shirt and dark baggy pants, police said.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cat burgler strikes Hyde Park

*In the late evening and early morning hours between Monday, August 21,
and Wednesday, September 6, in an area bounded by 50th Street on the
north, 55th Street on the south, Blackstone Avenue on the east, and
Greenwood Avenue on the west*, an unknown offender(s) has/have entered
four residences (one townhouse, one single family house, two first floor
apartments) through windows and a door and taken valuables while
residents were asleep. Police have reason to believe that the same
offender(s) may be involved in this pattern.

Toy-pistol bank heist bid by senior Hyde Parker

Wearing a white visor emblazoned with the word "Princess," the elderly woman showed the Loop bank teller a toy gun tucked in a Payless Shoes bag and demanded cash.

"Give me $30,000, my friend is across the street and no red dye," she whispered, according to an FBI agent's affidavit filed in court Wednesday as 79-year-old Melvena Cooke was charged with bank robbery.

The woman left without any money and was arrested minutes later when she ducked into a nearby drugstore.

Cooke, of the 5300 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard, was released on an unsecured $4,500 bond in a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier. The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Make Hyde Park the safest place

I believe in big dreams, and encourage you to get involved:
Watch for a new Community Safety Action program from HPKCC, using as its core a revitalized WhistleSTOP (what's that?) and personal safety instruction and training and cooperative action. Interested in helping? We must build a volunteer corps if we are to help make "Hyde Park the safest community in Chicago" What?! Believing is Doing. Call the Conference at 773 288-8343.

More polar thoughts about Hyde Park

Kamran's opinions about the differences between Hyde Park and the North side:
On Friday, three of my friends and I rented a Budget truck, packed all our things from our southside apartments, and made our pilgrimage to the northside. If you know Chicago, you'll know what a big change this is.

For those of you who don't, let me give you the run-d0wn. The south is where my University is, but it is a poverty stricken area, where crime is high and night-life is hard to find. In the last month of our residence, my new roommate Mario was beat up and mugged. My $500+ bike was also stolen. I wasn't careless about locking it up. I had a dual u-lock and chain to attach the frame and both wheels to any secure location. It happened to be locked to a no-parking sign, which was embedded in concrete. The thief somehow removed the post from the concrete, then removed the sign from the post, and slid the bike, lock and all, right off. My neighborhood, Hyde Park, is also completely filled with the most pretentious and stupid "intellectuals" I have ever encountered. Despite their rough neighborhood, they remain, generally, completely isolated. The two communities, university affiliated "enlightened" upper-crust white folk, and the poor black, live side by side, with little communication. The university folk, because they are university folk, have the belief that they understand the world, and know how what and who is or is not stupid.

While these comments seem a bit extreme, they do point out some of the tradeoffs for living in Hyde Park. For those of use that appreciate the diversity, intellectualism, and grand beauty of Hyde Park ... the tradoffs are well worth it.

More sexual assaults in Hyde Park

At 12:40 a.m., Wednesday, September 6, on South Kenwood Avenue between
58th and 59th Streets, a man and a woman were confronted by another
man who said that he was armed and asked for money. The victims
responded that they had no money. The offender searched and then
sexually assaulted the woman. Police are investigating and have
reason to believe that this offender robbed another man a few minutes
earlier on South Dorchester Avenue near 57th Street.

At 8:45 a.m., Tuesday, August 29 (not reported until 9-5), on South
Drexel Avenue between 60th and 61st Streets, a woman was placing her
child in a car when a man came up from behind, fondled her, and then
fled. Police are investigating.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kidnap and sexual assault

*Between 12:00 and 12:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 5, near 47th and
Woodlawn Avenue in a gas station, a woman was forced into a maroon and
gray van by two men who drove her to an unknown location and sexually
assaulted her. She managed to escape the van near 47th and **Cottage
Grove Avenue**. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. Police are

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Polar responses to Hyde Park

I get interesting responses when I say I'm from Hyde Park. Often times, the response is "wow, that's a beautiful neighborhood". Half the time, I hear "that's an island." The responses from people who live in Hyde Park seem to be just as polar. Some love it, consider it beautiful with lots of charm and diversity. Others are not so fond. For example, a recent entry from e-beth knits:
I'm from Iowa. I'm used to having nothing to do (though, it was easier and cheaper to go to the movies at least). But having nothing to do is not the only problem. The buses are loud and they go right outside our windows. Our window sills are covered in more grime that I ever saw on any window in Iowa even if the sill had not been cleaned in 10 years. And this is only a few months worth. I can't keep up with it. It seems fruitless anyway. And the crime. My roommate and his boyfriend were mugged at gunpoint a few weeks ago. I would say half the people I know have been a victim of a crime. Being held up at gunpoint is not uncommon. And just last week at 6am, two women were accosted and "fondled" by a man not two blocks from my workplace.

In short, Hyde Park has all of the disadvantages of living in the city and none of the advantages. I cannot wait to get out of this hellhole.
Walking down 53rd street between Cornell and Lake Park last night, I didn't feel so safe, as the entire North side of the street is deserted buildings, the street is dark, and the curb is enourmous. Sitting parked in the abandonded driveway to the garage was a vehicle with its life off and men talking inside. We walked home quickly.