WBEZ has a fascinating and slightly controversial article, interview and interactive map that has been getting a lot of play throughout Chicago news sources, blogs and social media. While it's not something to take lightly, we were naturally curious to see what information the interactive Chicago gang map would have about the Sloop.
Is our neighborhood infested with gangs? how does it compare with other neighborhoods? Am I living in a gang territory?
Before we dive in too deep, we wanted to preface these maps with a disclaimer from the CPD's Chief of Organized Crime:
interview on WBEZ's website) to address several questions about the maps, their use and their limitations. On the question of why the department doesn't dessiminate gang territory maps on its own website, he said such data is a double-edged sword. The department, he said, uses such information internally and, through the Commission's gang book, shares it with suburban police departments.
But on the other hand, he said he'd be concerned if the maps are too easy to pass around. "We don't want to either glorify a gang or maybe unintentionally cause a gang rift," Chief Roti said. "You [a gang member] could look at a map and say, 'They got way more territory than us.'"
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."So with that said, it appears that the downtown core doesn't appear to have as many territories as the South Side, West Side and North Side (note that the pins on the map are 2012 homicides in the city).
And specifically looking at the the South Loop, it looks as if it isn't particularly ripe with gangs. The one exception is that a gang appears to have "territory" around the Hilliard Homes and the Old Harold Ickes homes (which were knocked down a couple of years ago) around the Southwest portion of what we consider the South Loop:
If you have thoughts let us know, but please keep comments constructive.