Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shooting On Morse - Invasion From The South Side?

I don't do crime reports as a rule, but I am not seeing anything elsewhere so here goes.

Yesterday, around 4:30 PM, there was a shooting outside The Common Cup on Morse. I spoke with an eyewitness and apparently this occurred when two black men were shouting comments at each other, and one finally pulled a gun. There was a woman with a stroller (occupied I believe) who was next to/near one of the men in the altercation. Shots got fired, people ran for cover, and the police showed up in what must be record time. I wonder how many got pulled off of Sullivan? Apparently it was quite chaotic (big surprise) with one group of young men running off into a backyard, including one who was wounded. The eyewitness called 911 and later gave a statement to the police. At the time we talked he had not identified anyone to the police as the shooter and did not think the shooter had been found.

A 3rd party, arriving at The Common Cup in his car at 4:45, reported that the police had cars all over the place on Ashland as well as Morse, with some blocking the cross streets. Numerous black men were being arrested. So within 15 minutes of the shots being fired, the police were on the case. In his view, it was a massive response.

Now, this is of interest to me since I have a friend who lives near Fargo and Ashland and is familiar with gang tags. He noticed an uptick in the tagging in his area, which has been confirmed by the 3rd party who said it is occurring all over Ashland. My friend thinks some of the tags are from gangs south of the loop and believes they are coming to RP because the money is here and not where they are. He is expecting to see a lot more violence as a result. In a group discussion last night, the consensus was that RP is a border community and we may be seeing drug customers coming in to make purchases from dealers who are not residents of RP. One party noted that there are many arrests of non-residents for a variety of crimes in this community.

It appears we need to be extra vigilant as the weather warms. Community members that I know want Rogers Park to be a safe, livable community. It won't happen unless the gangbangers get the message to move on. I would hate to see the revitalization of Morse get hijacked by drug dealers. Perhaps the police response to the shooting will help send the appropriate message.

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