ChicagoDowntown / Loop

The Chicago Sun-Times BS gang story

by Joe Zekas on 2/21/12

Earlier today I visited the intersection of Barry and Spaulding in Avondale for a look around, with a focus on a few recent real estate sales.

What prompted my visit was a Chicago Sun-Times story today identifying the intersection as “Ground Zero in the Chicago Police Department’s all-out war on the Maniac Latin Disciples.”

Let’s clarify the BS reference at the outset, by quoting from the Sun-Times story:

The intersection looks like countless others on the Northwest Side.

Lots of trees, well-kept frame homes, a plant-filled traffic circle.

But there’s also a street sign spray-painted with a blue pitchfork — the symbol of the Maniac Latin Disciples.

It’s Barry and Spaulding. “B.S.” for short. The gang members who call it their turf, however, have a new name for the neighborhood surrounding B.S.

“It’s like the Bermuda Triangle,” one high-ranking gang member told the Chicago Sun-Times. “As long as you fly around it, you’re OK. But the minute you drive in there, you get sucked in [by the police.]”

The incredibly neatly spray-painted sign shown in the screen cap of the Sun-Times story was gone by the time of my visit.

The scene I saw at Barry and Spaulding was calm, clean and orderly. A homeowner in his mid-30s who’s lived a half a block from the intersection for 6 years, a man in his 50s who frequently walks the street, and a young lady who lives nearby all reported having seen no signs of gang activity at the intersection. It’s possible for some residents, of course, to be oblivious to their surroundings.

I saw no gang graffiti on nearby streets or in the alleys, and no signs of gang activity on my hour-long visit to the area. One indirect sign of gang activity was a very active police presence: there wasn’t more than a 5-minute interval without seeing a police vehicle, marked or plain.

Several properties on Spaulding have sold at substantial discounts from their prices levels five years ago, but there’s nothing remarkable about that. A rehabbed 4-bedroom, 3-bath single-family at 3122 N Spaulding sold last year for $385,000. A post on the listing and another on the sale at CribChatter elicited generally favorable comments about the location.

Today’s Sun-Times story, in many respects, simply repeats information from reports on MSNBC’s The Squeeze. You can see a six-part video on the Maniac Latin Disciples from The Squeeze at YouTube: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle March 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM

You did reference Everyblock, but you must have missed the posting that was specific to the area that also detailed graffiti in the area of Barry west of Spaulding. Here’s the link. http://chicago.everyblock.com/announcements/mar08-please-report-gang-graffiti-4796559/

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Joe Zekas March 9, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Michelle,

When I was writing – on February 21 – it was easy to miss a post from yesterday, March 8.

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