Sunday, January 4, 2009

A new year with old problems

I woke up this morning with the intentions of setting the year right. I would tackle a mountain of laundry in preparation of my maiden voyage back to the gym tomorrow.  Post laundry I would spend the remainder of the day cleaning sprucing, washing my hair, bathing the dog etc-It was to be a productive Sunday, I tell you what!

As I walked to my car about a block and a half away, I felt the tug of worry - last fall my motorcycle had been vandalized on this very block, the 3rd time in this area since I bought her.  
Additionally, some irate driver had put a note on my car prior to the last attack warning me about using my bike to block spaces.

As I neared my car, I tried to shake off these concerns: then I noticed the broken glass on the ground.  No way, I thought, I must have parked in broken glass last night.  Then I looked toward my drivers window - it was no longer there.  Someone had broken into my car, a mere 1 and a half blocks from where I sleep and eat and live someone had violated me again - only this time it was not my motorcycle it was my car.  Different vehicle, same feeling.

As my hands went numb, I remembered all those cars I had seen parked along Glenwood Avenue with broken windows and how I had felt sorry for the car owners.  Now it was my turn.
I walked home to retrieve my mobile phone and call the police, I filed a report, called my insurance and blessedly found someone to take my car same day.  My car is safely at the repair shop and I feel far from it.  

What has happened to Rogers Park?  More and more I see neighbors that don't speak to one another, broken windows and dented bumpers.  Loud and rude children, obscene adults and it breaks my heart.  RP was my refuge - now I am at a loss.

After reading the attack of the bar staff from The Glenwood, I count myself lucky - however, I feel a huge sympathy towards the victims.  My condolences go out to them.

What can we do to help our neighborhood? 
My initial reactions are to move far far away.

Comments?

15 comments:

  1. Thanks Craig - I was inspired to write about this after reading your blog: keep up the great work on your end - I appreciate it and I will be following your postings.

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Moto Chick:

    Really sorry this happened to you. You live in my part of RP. We're working to clean it up, but the garbage just keeps on flowing in. Feel free to e-mail me with any observations.

    GrammarGal9@gmail.com

    www.anotherthousandwords.blogspot.com

    Also visit:
    www.rp1000.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! Same thing happened about 15 years ago when I moved here. Following a day of checking out Rogers Park apartments, my partner and I went to the Heartland for dinner. I parked legally on Glenwood. After dinner we found my car vandalized and a leather briefcase (full of work papers useless to anyone else) was stolen.

    We need to change this picture, and we will.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the outpouring of support guys - it helps - I felt really alone after this incident.

    I will definitely keep you posted GrammarGal.

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My car window was broken in 1980. I was held up at gunpoint in my garage in the mid-90s. I can tell you, without hesitation, that things have improved. I have seen the resurgence fo car window breakings... it used to be to get radios, not it seems to be to get GPS units. Unfortunately, these sorts of property crimes seem to go in cycles.

    It is always depressing to be a crime victim, and it is typical to want to "move" somewhere safer. Rogers Park has improved and will continue to improve (despite less than stellar political leadership). I am sure we have more activists per square block than anywhere in the city and some of the most neighborly folks in the city. We will make a difference.

    So hang in there Moto Chick. I'll watch for you on your yellow Ducati and wave when I go buy on my yellow Vespa GTS... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Tom,

    I just found out today the repair for my car is $350 - money I definitely do not have.

    It is true, I do feel vulnerable angry, targeted and resolved to move away.
    However, with people like you and the others I've encountered blogging, it reminds me why I moved to RP in the first place.

    Thank you for the encouragement and the info - it definitely helps!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don't. I could give you my half-assed theories (the CHA's Plan for Transformation which tore down old public housing units and send the resides - many, MANY of them law-abiding citizens, but some of them, not so much, to every part of the city including Rogers Park) but it would just be speculation. But it's the broken window theory. Somewhere along the line in the most recent years, someone got away with something - drinking in the park, jumping up and down on a car that was not theirs, breaking a series of car windows, etc. - and it snowballed from there. Society has gotten ruder in general and the bad elements in the area have stepped up their game to. The only way I see to end it is a combination of "tough love" and inclusion. Tough on the gangbangers and gangbang wannabes (to avoid future tragedies like the infamous "Freaky Nu Nu" incident. Demand that cops and the alderman crackdown on loiterers, public drinkers, etc. Stop those and you stop a lot of the problems. You can get attacked on the street if police are rousting the potential attackers who are often loitering on the corners, the el stations, etc. Then, make attempts at inclusion, such as the new youth center on Howard. Show the ones at risk that there is another path, other than gangbanging and random attacks over an ipod, etc.

    Sorry you feel resolved to move. You sound like the type of person that should stay. But it's ultimately your decision. Don't give up just yet, but if you feel you have to, good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  8. But what have you done about anything, for more than a month now? C'mon, Motochick, what are you feeling, NOW?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey, Tom Mannis needs a job, hire him to protect your car

    http://chicagonewsstench.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete