*Many cities have unique traditions. In my old hood, it’s “community.” The bonds and generations of neighbors and family friends remain, despite the crimes/crooks. The main fabric is community. Most hoods have similar traditions. Some communities are focused in ethnicity like Korean, Latin and Jamaican. Chicago has its own tradition. It’s “violence.” Their corruption and taste for violence has a long and steady culture. Since Al Capone left New York to change the structure of Chicago, the very fabric of its Law Enforcement and local politics have set precedence for violence that has remained, grown and adapted with time.
Chicago, at the same time, is the gang capital of the U.S.A. Not even in Los Angeles, California, does the climate of Bloods/Crips surpass Chicago’s hold on gang capital U.S.A. Not New York’s elder street culture nor its long history of street life. Not Washington D.C.’s viciousness or Baltimore’s coldness in crime or its hold on being the heroine haven. Not Detroit’s collapsed economy, which breeds desperate vultures, can compare to the barbarian street life of Chicago!
How can the local Government/Law Enforcement not contain or curb the crime and violence? It’s because, unlike most of America, the city of Chicago doesn’t wear the mask of illusion that other American cities do or the Unites States, for that matter. As it covers its ills or puts shade on its underbelly. Not in Chicago. The underbelly is the “face” of its community gang violence. Street rage reigns supreme, but not only on the street level. Chicago has been long known for corruption on all levels of local Law and Government. It has seeped into the fabric like blood or cat piss in a carpet. There is no trust and, like a drug addict, it’s easier to feed the habit than admit and quit. Slow change is coming in Law Enforcement and local Government.
The long history of gang culture has not changed. Chicago is plagued with the most unique, complex gang structures in America. Its street traditions run deep. Territory has been mapped. The sheer volume of gangsters could cripple any city. There is a base of gang culture. Chicago has shaped the structure of gang life across America. Here is a concise, but not complete, list of over active gangs in Chicago…
The Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples comprise the root and core of gang life in Chicago. There are many gangs, all active and trying to rule the very lucrative streets and state of Illinois.
- Vice Lords
1) Almighty Black B. Stone Nation
2) Almighty Saints
3) Almighty Vie Lord Nation
- Chicago Gay Lords
- Chicago Outfit
- Folk Nation
- Four Corner Hustlers
- Gangster Disciples (G.D.’s)
- Hell’s Lovers
- Hell’s Angels MC
- La Raza Nation
- Latin Eagles
- Maniac Latin Disciples
- Latin Kings (Original)
- Mickey Cobras
- Outlaws Motorcycle Club
- People Nation
- Polish-American Organized Crime
- Simon City Royals
- Spanish Cobras
- Tap Boyz
- Los Zetes
By the numbers, or as we say round here, Fact O, Chicago is, without question, the gang capital of the United States. According to the crime commission 2012-2015 report, they found that there are 600 gang fractions operating at the same time, just in the city of Chicago. They have over 70,000 loyal gang bangers.
In a typical year, so-called gang capitals of Chicago and Los Angeles account for around half of all homicides with gang ties. Nearly one in four gang related homicides occur in either Chicago or Los Angeles.
- 2015 – Final murder statistics for Chi Town: 445 shot and killed. 2,551 shot and wounded. Total killed in the 365 days of 2015 was 507.
- 2016 – Chicago’s murder rate soars to 72%, so far. Shootings are up 88%. The city has 141 murders RIGHT NOW! Up from 82, compared to last year at this time. Chicago is on a pace for over 550 homicides at this year’s rate of 600, if the projected upcoming summer months bring gang wars.
The sad events keep happening in the city. The murder of Lee McCullum III on Thursday, May 12, 2016 has touched many, as well as myself. Young McCullum was only 22 years old and found unresponsive from a gunshot wound in the West Pullman neighborhood. He was a documented gang member and was recently on a CNN t.v. series titled “Chicagoland”. The series cast the, then former street kid turned student leader. It was an eight part series in 2014. The media and family members have stressed the point that Mr. McCullum was one that stayed away from crime and gangs through programs implemented under the Fenger’s School Principal at the time, Elizabeth Dozier. Despite those efforts, crime never rests and after the cameras and exposure left, the streets remained and jealousy and hate came in. Or perhaps, he was enticed into the gang life of Chi Town. Two week earlier, McCullum’s girlfriend, Tiara Parks (daughter of Cook County Sherriff Deputy) was shot and killed and two others were injured when a gunman shot in a crowd near 114 St.
This is the culture of Chicago, a gun culture.
Even though murder rates come and go, right now, St. Louis has a high murder rate. It ebbs and flows in the consistent commitment to violence. Chicago is unmatched. The mid set has to change. A true Politician has to come along and publically admit to past and present transgressions, as well as have a concrete plan. The gangs would have to have a truce. These factors have led other cities to change, such as the total collapse of Detroit’s economy invoked change. This is the point that Chi Town must reach for true change to take place and I am not sure Chicago is ready for that kind of transformation. It is cemented in its infamous history, lost in its lore and its propensity for violence.
The problems that plague the city have so many layers so rooted in the culture, that it will be hard to do a 180. It might even take drastic measures by Government to affect change.
I am a ferocious writer with the passion of Langston Hughes and the eternal blood of Jupiter Hammon. I was born and survived in Brooklyn, New York in 1981. Black Nationalism was instilled in me at an early age, a pride and process of achieving self-worth.
Through the darkness of struggle, have I come to live the words “the ink from one pen will endure longer than the blood of a thousand men.” Thank you, KJS – Contact Knowledge Shabazz via Ultra Ulvick @ 406-241-6801 or [email protected]
Hustler of ALL OUR CULTURE