We Need to Mobilize Against City Violence

Residents: We Need to Mobilize Against City Violence

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CrimeNowadays Logan Square has the perception of being a quaint, little neighborhood full of shops and restaurants. But crime has risen dramatically in the West Side neighborhood over the past year. In 2015, there have been five murders in the area and that total may surpass 2014’s total of seven, which was the most since 2006.

Logan Square is tied with North Lawndale, South Shore and Roseland for the third most murders in the city. For context, the neighborhoods with more murders are Austin with seven and West Englewood with six.

Dan Monaghan, who has lived in the area for more than five years, said he feels safe in the neighborhood but there are times when things can get a bit sketchy.

“I feel safe in my neighborhood because I know my neighbors,” Monaghan said. “There are certainly times and places in my neighborhood that make me feel less safe, but I live with an understanding of the implications of living in a big city.”

Despite the increasing murder rates, crime in the area has been decreasing over the last few years, according to available Chicago police crime data. Last year saw 28 non-fatal shootings, which is a major decline from 2006’s high of 57.

And even in the past month, from May 7 to June 6, there have been a total of 22 violent crimes, which consist of robberies, battery and assault. Everyone will need to work together, said Monaghan, in order to help keep the neighborhood safe.

“I’d encourage everyone to engage in open, honest and reflective conversation for understanding, collaboration and problem solving,” he added. “I’d encourage people to always ask questions. I’d encourage people to education themselves and others and mobilize for positive change.”

On Monday evening, Parents for Peace and Justice, an anti-violence organization, were doing just that at a vigil at the intersection of Crystal Street and Karlov Avenue. They were there to address the issue of abandoned buildings in West Humboldt Park, which they say are a magnet for crime. It was the latest of the group’s ongoing vigils in Logan Square and Humboldt Park aimed at addressing gang violence and drug sales in the area.

“Officials can’t really do anything just sitting in their offices’ four walls,” said Robert Torres, founder of Parents for Peace and Justice. “They need to go out and see what’s happening in the streets.”

Additional reporting by Alex V. Hernandez.

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