Let’s take back our streets

November 18, 2011
By |

Why?

I cannot for the life of me figure out why I see so much useless attitude on the streets where I live. There’s so much anti-everything on the streets.

There’s so much, “I don’t care at all about the way it looks for a group of young males and females to just take up a corner, without regard even to churches, blocks, major streets, or in many cases buildings and houses.

Why are we allowing them to start out looking and acting like thugs at such a young age?

Why doesn’t this same age group stand on streets, porches, blocks, in front of stores or churches in Oak Park, which is right across the street?

What are those parents doing so differently than the parents east of Austin Boulevard?

What makes the police spot the “spots” to make sure they don’t get set up different than police over here on the east side of Austin Blvd.?

The pattern is always the same.

First, one or two will congregate.

They grow to a point where there is someone on that spot several hours at a time. They develop “shifts.” They become proficient at staring a car down. They make it clear what they have if you drive by a couple of times, especially if you go slow and make any eye contact.

They tend to have their “posts” during most of the day and much of the night. They all tend to eventually dress, act and look the same. They will watch other nationalities work in legitimate jobs all around them. They even buy from those who come in with such blatant disrespect that they don’t put one or two “tokens” to work.

Yet, they look at you with anger and disdain as you attempt to navigate your streets. Why? The others come in bunches and are never challenged by these young folk who just take over a spot and dare  you to act as though you don’t like it.

They seem to have the attitude of, ‘How dare you act like you have a right to travel your streets’ like people do in every other neighborhood in the city!

They seem to not worry that at some point we are going to start asking the question “why.”

They seem not to worry the adults in their own houses are going to get the ones that live in their houses off the “spots.”

They seem to not care that someone might notice their drawers are hanging below their butt, way below their butt, in the house, in front of parents, grandparents, older brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles; that someone in the house will say, “You are not leaving out of that door like that! You will not be on the street like that! You will not wear pajamas outside like that!”

Someone who gave birth or who’s taking care – or should be taking care – of them, will open their eyes and mouth, and say, “No! No! No!”

No matter what you say or what you do, you will not continue the things described above!

How do you think they get so hard and callous? We let them get started thinking they can do what they want; talk back the way they want; live and hang out the way they want.

Well, it’s time we stop. It’s time we burn up the phone lines to the police. It’s time we stand up to these kids – while we can. It’s time we make sure we start with the ones at our address. You know if you are watching even your own or not.

You know whether your own is out in a group just hanging, or starting the lifestyle, and how your own leaves the house dressed. Have you ever just rolled up on your own without them expecting you? Have you ever checked your own out without him or her knowing you were checking them out?

We all must commit to something now. Call the police. Check your child. Stop allowing our street to be treated different than the same street across Austin.

Don’t you dare just give up. Don’t you dare just get so tired. Don’t you dare look any farther than across the room. Don’t you dare let them see you blink.

Ask yourself the question.

Why?

James Deanes is a senior policy adviser for Local School Council Relations, a department within Chicago Public Schools that oversees and facilitates the operation of local school councils. Deanes has lived in Austin for more than 43 years.

13 thoughts on “Let’s take back our streets

  1. Dear Mr. Deanes,

    I have not dared to give up, even though I have none from my house who behave the way you describe; however, there are those who live amongst me and it hinders the entire way I am able to live in my house and on my block.

    A little while ago, you may have seen a post from me on this site, lamenting the disrespect I feel when the loiterers hang in front of my home, which I have turned into a preschool, and start to congregate and then litter my yard with liquor bottles. I never thought it was “just kids” misbehaving, but these people are grown young adults, so I never have been able to understand why grown people who live on the block, would decide to behave in such a way. It would be very different if these were kids, though inexcusable, but they are not kids. Grown people. Who is to blame there?

    I asked several questions in trying to arrive at an answer for my woes–should we call upon the police, the churches, parents, who? I have called police, who have promised to come to help me after I have asked the same bunches time and time again to stay from in front of my property, only to either not have the police come or come well after the time when they would be able to do something about it.

    2 weeks ago, I returned from out of town and went across the street to knock on the door of the family directly across the street, who hosts the troublemakers on the block and participate with the riff raff that loiter in front of my property and litter my yard. No one came to the door (though the curtains moved), but when I happened to see an older resident of the house across the street, a 50-ish woman wearing a hat that stated something about GOD, I decided to approach her to tell her about my issues with the company streaming in and out of the residence her elderly father owns. This woman proceeded to tell me that “she didn’t care what happens to THEM,” which are her two young nephews I threatened to have the police come visit the next time I had issues with their company.

    The THEM are always the problem and no one, not even tax paying neighbors of mine who feed, clothe, and house these people, have known what to do about THEM, nor do they seem to try. THEM is keeping me from enjoying the peace that is supposed to come with owning property. THEM is robbing me of enterprise on my own turf.

    Why should I always have to be bothered with controlling THEM, when the former district commander of the 15th district police station owns a home across the street from my house? His mother purportedly resides there with his family.

    Why is THEM always OUR problem?

    • WE are our OWN Problems. GOD made us, but we serve the world. We don’t think about a relationship with God until something terrible happens. The children have crosses tattooed on them, but do not pray, study the Bible nor attend church. My heart bleeds for the lack of love and nurturing that is sorely needed and very short in supply.

      Where are the stable homes, college-educated parents, businesses, great schools and libraries and RE-GENERATED Income that exists across the border in Oak Park?

      Politics and police tactics have all but destroyed our ways of life as Black people in America. We have learned how to hate; but we were created by LOVE. GOD IS LOVE. We are very powerful when we unite. Love is the answer — not war. Not fighting with our neighbors. Speak to each other. Teach the children. Talk to the young people like they are human beings. Who is perfect? We don’t belong to each other. We belong to God. We need to learn how to act like it; then teach others by the way we treat them. We can turn this around. Love is revolutionary. Revolve 100% from hate to love for self and each other.

  2. A few simple answers to the questions. The parents are to blame for not installing positive social values. The parents are probably of the same type of people that party all the time, feel they are entitled to the world without working for it, and feel they can treat anyone the way they want, because they were never taught otherwise. Any time these individuals, parents and children, are questioned about the way they act, they either get aggressive, or put blame on society…

    Why does this not happen in Oak Park? Because the majority of parents have taught their children positive social skills, and have given them positive attention throughout their lives. There are always exceptions to the rule, but unfortunately, Austin’s exception is the person who was brought up in a positively functioning home, while Oak Park’s exception is the opposite. People drop a tone of money to live in Oak Park for the education (in addition to diversity, and many things), who are the same type of people that expect their kids to make something of themselves in the world… the young adults in Austin who take over the corner never had the opportunity to learn these life lessons… they learnt how to take, intimidate, drink, party, and use the street like it was a toilet. It’s hard to expect them to respect anything or anyone when they don’t respect themselves.

    There is a cultural of calling the police in Oak Park. Police in Oak Park encourage residents to call them no matter how small the issue or suspicion is. People pay a lot of taxes there and they expect their police force to work for it. There is an attitude there that people don’t put up with thuggery, and you can expect them, and a host of other people, to call the police if they saw the same type of young adults acting the same way on those corners.

    For there to be change, there needs to be an area wide cultural change where not only children, but parents learn to see the right and wrong in their, and their kid’s, actions, and make changes accordingly. Sadly, I’m am very doubtful that this will ever happen. These people will continue to have children, as will their children, and will pass on the same values…

    Having the police deal with them is a bandage to a much larger problem. They can throw these people in jail for any offenses they commit, but more than likely, they’ll come out with their previous disfunction even further ingrained… and where will they go? Back home to Austin to spread their disfunction, and to teach other kids the same ways, cause their moms and dads (if you can call them that) are not there to teach them anything.

    I cannot think of the number of times I’ve read something like the above article, where someone has had enough, is going to take a stand, gather people for a march to show that they won’t take it either… and what happens? NOTHING! Why? Because there are not enough people in Austin willing to take that stand, and there are more than enough people there willing to continue on as always, or even participate in the thuggery.

    The British had a place for disfunction a long time ago, and it wasn’t prison… it was Australia.

  3. I absolutely appreciate the feedback. I want to be real clear. I am going to take a very aggresive role in trying to help bring the solutions to what we all seem to agree is a problem. I am not raising this as a CPS employee. I am speaking as a resident who refuses to leave an Area that I love (by choice) to live in.

    Imagine if you would, the days when we are able to deal with real social local, national, and international issues that control the quality of life in our various communities,because we have exerted the moral, and legal responsibility of being Parents and involved, caring, adults, starting within our own families, inour own apartments, houses, buildings, and on our blocks where we live.

    Take a little at a time. Do not try to do it alone. Do not fer asking for help from all who may be able to help lighten/carry the load. Stop being afraid of your own! What? What? He did not have the nerve to say “afraid of my own”, did he?

    Yes he did! Thats where you start to exercise your legal and moral authority. More to follow. I am not asking anyone to do anything that I am not going to do, both with immediaate ande extended family. I have started.

  4. I absolutely appreciate the feedback. I want to be real clear. I am going to take a very aggresive role in trying to help bring the solutions to what we all seem to agree is a problem. I am not raising this as a CPS employee. I am speaking as a resident who refuses to leave an Area that I love (by choice) to live in.

    Imagine if you would, the days when we are able to deal with real social local, national, and international issues that control the quality of life in our various communities,because we have exerted the moral, and legal responsibility of being Parents and involved, caring, adults, starting within our own families, in our own apartments, houses, buildings, and on our blocks where we live.

    Take a little at a time. Do not try to do it alone. Do not fear asking for help from all who may be able to help lighten/carry the load. Stop being afraid of your own! What? What? He did not have the nerve to say “afraid of my own”, did he?

    Yes he did! Thats where you start to exercise your legal and moral authority. More to follow. I am not asking anyone to do anything that I am not going to do, both with immediaate and extended family. I have started. Will you?

  5. I have to add that there comes a time in these “children’s” lives that they must become accountable. They should have been accountable to their parents, but they weren’t, which is why they turned out the way they did… but now, they take an equal share of the blame, because they knowingly perpetuate their own actions. No one forces them to act this way, not the parents, their teachers, society… they make the decision to do so.

  6. I agree with Mr. Guy about personal accountability. There are many negative-turned-positive examples of people growing up in areas worse than Austin, who learn that they cannot continue to exist with the same bad actions and dysfunction they have always been accustomed to. These people want to change their lives and understand that they are responsible for their actions.

    Unfortunately, I do not believe there are enough people like this in the worse parts of large cities. To me, it has turned into a war on class, other than anything else. It makes me want to just sell my properties and move away to either Oak Park or Lincoln Park, but again, why should I have to give up everything I work hard for and allow people from the streets to bully me into leaving my home because they make it so unbearable for me to enjoy my space? Police have already told me and shown me, that they are not really concerned about issues in our neighborhood. They don’t care because many of us over in Austin don’t care and rather live with things just the way they are.

    I have asked people to join with me to try to do something positive for the community, but I never got any takers. I even became a member of a west side organization that states it favors good values, education, and a better community. They talk a good talk, but walking the walk is another issue. They’d rather floss and gloss over the real issues that are killing Austin as a safe and decent community of upwardly mobile people and they perpetuate the stereotype of non-functioning leaders. This is all too typical…

    I know no group should be burdened with the work of cleaning up the mess in Austin; there has to be total personal responsibility and accountability, too. I just wish alot of the parents would do a much better job of teaching their children how to do better. However, how can one do better, when they have not been taught to do better?

    Education extends much farther than what we may learn in a traditional classroom…

  7. No groups should be allowed to loiter and engage in lewd behavior. Any misconduct should be reported and the police should respond immediately. This means a direct street intervention. No a drive by. I lived in the Austin Area for years, until I decided that my daily warfare with human toxic waste was no longer tolerable. My neighbors were enablers and would notify the drug dealers that CPD was a nearby block. If I call the police in Evergreen Park, they respond immediately (trespassing, loitering, suspicious behavior, etc.). They don’t wait for an emergency such as gunfire, homicide, or rape.

    Unfortunately, stakeholders in Chicago have to be consistent, diligent and collective in addressing these community parasites. Report abuse and neglect to DCFS, contact the State’s Attorney’s Office and give names of perpetrators, license plate numbers of vehicles, addresses where thugs dwell/hang during their daily street rituals, etc. to rid of such undesirables. Everybody knows who they are, including the police. Remember, the 15th Police District has a history of criminal misconduct.

  8. W Jones, “the parents” are PART of the “prevailing culture” by either participating in it, encouraging it, or not holding their children accountable for participating in the “prevailing culture”.

  9. Susan Banks, the ONLY reason Austin hasn’t turned into a complete hell hole is because of people like you that stick around and fight for their community by not moving away. If you, and every other good community member, move away, I would fear for what Austin would become. It already feels like Austin is fighting a loosing battle.

    Carmella, I’m willing to bet that the people who inform the dealers that that CPD are around the corner are the first to blame society when some drug dealer shoots their “baby”. The police don’t show up until the “serious” crime occurs because they there is already so much serious crime to attend to. Also, like you illustrated, police are fighting a loosing battle when residents work against the law. So people are so delusional that they can’t see how they misguided sense of loyalty is destroying their home.

  10. It is working. I have made it a crusade to target Adams between Laramie and Lockwood. I see the Police are responding. I see the thugs moving reluctantly, slowly, but they are moving. They are getting thinner and thinner.. Lets keep targeting that area with the Police. They are going there when called. I know because I call and see the response. One spot at a time. Adams, Quincy, Gladys, Congress and Van Buren. Lockwood, and Lotus. They cannot have these streets. We must have the Police keep hitting them until they get it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. It is working. I have made it a crusade to target Adams between Laramie and Loscwood. Isee the Police are responding. I see the thugs are moving. They are getting thinner and thinner. Lets keep targting that area with the Police.They are going there when called. I know because I call and see the response. One spot at a time. Adams,Quincy, Jackson, Gladys, Van Buren, Congress. Lodckwood and Lotus. They cannot have these streets. We must have the Police keep hitting them until they get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply