A map of Chicago’s no-go zones?

If you’re risk-averse, and especially if you have children, the odds are that you’d rather not move to a Chicago neighborhood where gangs have an active presence. If you fit that description and understand gang behavior, you’ll even more firmly reject any location on the border between Chicago’s scores of gangs and hundreds of factions.

So how do you identify your personal “no-go” zones? Real estate agents can’t tell you where gangs operate. For the most part, they’re completely ignorant of the facts on the ground. When they’re knowledgeable, fair housing laws effectively bar them from sharing what they know with you.

Public radio station WBEZ has come to your rescue with an interactive map of gang turf based on Chicago Police Department (CPD) data. If you’re hunting for a new home or apartment, it’s a must-consult tool, even if you’re not all that concerned about gang activity.

CPD Chief of Organized Crime Nicholas Roti expressed several concerns about the map to WBEZ, including the following:

Chief Roti also expressed concern about the possibility that such maps would stigmatize any particular Chicago neighborhood as being affiliated with gangs. “That not only goes into people buying homes,” he said. “That could go into businesses looking to start there.”

Yes, you read that head-scratcher right. The map, not the gang activity itself, would stigmatize a neighborhood as gang-affiliated. Any Chicagoan named Roti will, of course, be sensitive to the possibility of being unfairly stigmatized.

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