Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And Suddenly, An Explosion of Coverage on Chicago’s Wildings/Flash Mobs

I’m not complaining. This is out of control, and it’s nice to see the media stepping up to the plate. It's kind of funny, though, how quickly after Mayor Daley stepped down that the media started doing their job.  Makes you wonder what kind of dirt he had on some of these news organizations.  Anyway, these stories have also been all over Drudge (yay, national news!), so I won’t extensively repeat what happened. Rest assured, it is more of the same things that have been going on for the past year, only now it’s actually being reported, and the CPD is actually arresting some of these thugs.

On Saturday in the Streeterville neighborhood (basically just east of the Mag Mile), four (or five, depending on the news source) robberies occurred in a ten minute span at around 8:30 in the evening. It was light out, and there were a lot of people in the vicinity:
In the first case, a man was beaten about 8:25 p.m. when a group of 15 to 20 males approached him near Northwestern University’s Streeterville campus.
The second incident happened a few minutes later, law enforcement officials said. A man was knocked off his bicycle in the 700 block of North Lake Shore Drive and punched by a group of teens who stole his cellphone and camera, law enforcement officials said.

In two other incidents, two men — ages 68 and 42 — were robbed of iPod and other electric devices in the Streeterville area.
The 68 year old was a doctor who was in town for a medical conference. The 42 year old man was a Japanese tourist, and also a doctor. The first victim tells his story here, along with details of the other incidents.  (By the way, can you imagine sitting on a bench, enjoying the day, and suddenly being surrounded by a swarm of teenagers?  Scary.) 

At least five black male teens from the south side were arrested in connection with these robberies, which is good news, except that probably nothing serious will happen to them. Some are juveniles, so I’m sure they will be back out on the streets almost immediately. That's the real problem -- there are no consequences for this type of behavior.  It doesn't scare anyone off to be arrested.  (I was watching Judge Judy the other day and she asked one of the parties if he had ever been arrested before, and he said "Obviously."  The Judge Judy death glare to that response was a sight to see.  It's like being arrested is no big deal anymore.)  Anyway, I'm sure the teens arrested are all “good boys” who got straight As and were on the path to college.  I’m still waiting for their mothers to show up on the news clutching their school pictures and talking about how they have been wrongly accused and were turning their lives around.  At least that's how these events usually go down.

The Mayor and Police Superintendent (both new to their jobs) have addressed the incidents, but have almost brushed them off, stating that there is nothing to worry about. They have it under control. Right. In fact, the Police Superintendent had this to say:
Asked whether tourists and people wanting to enjoy the lakefront should be concerned, McCarthy said, “No. No. But, what we do have to do is have awareness. You don’t want to walk in dark areas by yourself after having a fight at a bar with a friend and you’re going home. We still have to pay attention to common-sense things to do. We have to be aware. That’s the nature of the world today. But, nobody should be afraid of this.”
Here we have four (or five, depending on the news source) people who were out enjoying the day, minding their own business, in a nice neighborhood in a well populated area, in broad daylight who got jumped by a group of black teens. And McCarthy is talking about people walking home in the dark by themselves after a bar fight? Is he serious? What connection does that have with anything that happened?  This has expanded well beyond drunk college kids getting their iPhones stolen at 3 a.m. during their walk home from the bar, which many people could at least acknowledge isn’t the smartest thing to do in the city. No, this is happening in broad daylight in well populated parts of town that – at least until now – have been considered the “safe” and “nice” parts of town.  The "common-sense" part of his statement irks me, too.  I guess it's using no common sense these days to expect to be able to walk around in downtown Chicago during the day without being rushed by a mob of thugs.  What an idiot.

So sorry, Mayor Emmanuel and Superintendent McCarthy, but it isn’t over yet:
Charges are pending against three people arrested after a group of 10 men attacked at least one person Tuesday night in a “flash mob incident” downtown.
Same general area, same thing, three days later.  Mobs of black teenagers from the south side coming north to commit crimes.  Here’s more on that, including the news report.

There has also been a rash of robberies in the Lakeview neighborhood – again, committed by black males – who use pepper spray on their victims and then steal their phones and money.  Once Lakeview issued a community report on June 3, they moved south to Lincoln Park on June 5.  Oh, and the Lincoln Park incident happened at 7 a.m.  So much for people getting into fights at bars and walking home in the dark as being the cause.  Also, the American Apparel off the Belmont stop in Lakeview was flash mobbed on June 3.  That's what's really interesting about all this.  If the cops step up on the Mag Mile, will the criminals move north to Lincoln Park, west to Old Town, further north to Lakeview?  Because you know they will be going somewhere.  

Edited to add:  This just popped up on the Tribune, and it annoyed me even further:
A 17-year-old Chicago boy has been arrested in Wilmette after allegedly breaking a woman’s hand during an attempted purse-snatching.
 Wilmette police arrested James Myer, 17, of the 6800 block of South Dorchester Avenue at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
So, we have a 17 year old who is nearly 30 miles from home (Wilmette is a northern suburb) at 2 p.m. on a school day.  Nice.

Edited again:  Jesus, there's been another attack.  From the Sun Times:
A man was hospitalized after being attacked by four others and robbed of an iPhone and wallet while riding a CTA train on the Near North Side on Wednesday afternoon.
Four males attacked a man as he rode the Brown Line about 3:40 p.m. in the 300 block of West Chicago Avenue, police said. The man’s iPhone and wallet were taken.
This one is west of the Mag Mile area just north of the Loop.  Another person attacked who obviously wasn't stumbling home wasted drunk at 3 in the morning after getting into a bar fight.  Nope, middle of the afternoon on a very busy el route (in fact, my el route to and from work) an hour and a half before rush hour officially starts.  At 3:40 p.m., this guy wasn't sitting on that train alone, I can assure you.  I can't even believe how brazen this is getting.   

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