Is Wicker Park the new hood?

Is Wicker Park the new hood?

I’m a city girl and I can honestly say that I am used to a certain amount of crime. My expectations for seeing someone crazy on the CTA train is pretty high and I’m sure if I walk in any given direction in this city, there may be public urination (or the faint scent of it), a homeless person with or without a sign and or something that to a non-city dweller would be shocking and or appalling.  I guess I’ve gotten used to it over the years commuting as far as Rogers Park to Roseland?

However, I have recently been monitoring the rash of bank robberies and crimes in the city, in particular in Wicker Park. Although I still cringe when I find out that the crime is almost always committed by an African American male, at the same time, I can’t help but think that Wicker Park has become crime ridden and it is technically not even summer time yet!  I used to text a close girlfriend when I heard about another bank robbery or random crime in the area. I don’t even bother anymore because they are happening so often.

I’m very familiar with the neighborhood. I've worked in the area and I have several friends that have been living in Wicker Park before gentrification reached out its tentacles, which is fine.  Neighborhoods change often and I’ve been frequenting the Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village area since I was in high school. I am a fan of the area.

It is beautiful with architecturally harmonious buildings on tree lined or diagonal streets. The shops are trendy, free flowing and lively. However, I no longer consider it as safe as I did a few years earlier.  Considering my familiarity with a ton of Chicago neighborhoods, that is saying a lot.

This is hardly neighborhood bashing.  Neighborhoods change and at times, the atmosphere that a neighborhood is pretty safe can also shift. It is about perception and it seems that something has gone a bit awry in Wicker Park.  When I commute to the area to visit close friends, I can’t help but think about all of the bank robberies, muggings, shootings and store break-ins.   It’s pretty cringe worthy, in part because it is happening so often and in an area I once deemed very safe.

Welcome to the rest (or a sizable portion) of Chicago Wicker Park!

I hate to say it and I'm actually pretty bummed about it.  I used to commute all times of night,  hang out with friends, and visit for long/late hours. I can’t say that I would do that anymore or at least not as freely as before without worrying about my personal safety.

However, this is not a big deal.  I'm in the city and as a woman, there are SEVERAL areas I wouldn't frequent or hang out in late at night.

Neighborhoods continue to change....

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  • Simply put, if you think Wicker Park is crime central then you have never really spent much time in Roseland. Wicker Park's worst day of crime would be Roseland's plain and simple. Maybe you've noticed an uptick in WP crime, but I could list 30 other neighborhoods that are much worse EVERY day of the year.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It's funny you should mention Roseland, since I worked in Roseland for three years and coincidentally, two years in Wicker Park. There has been an uptick in crime in WP, not so much in evening hours but during the day. There is a shift or change with regards to the type of crimes that are taking place. I could probably list 30 other neighborhoods too, just like you, but W.P. would be a new addition to the list, unfortunately. Thanks.

  • As someone who has frequented Wicker Park for most of his life. I can say that during the 80's it was kind of sketchy and this recent uptick in crime which has happened over the past 7-8 years is random acts of violence. Like anywhere else in the city.

  • I think you mean Ukrainian Village. Most crime in WP is by thugs coming from other hoods to rob folks in a "well to do" part of town. They just caught the WP purse snatches last week in a high speed chase as they were on the way back south. I agree it is disturbing.. especially the Irish women so badly beaten last year. I know folks that dial 911 on the cell phone when walking late at nite.. so if there is trouble they only have to press CALL.. pretty good idea. Also a lot of crime along Chicago Ave.. the zip just south of there is the zip in which one is most likely to have a crime committed against them.

  • In reply to JHap:

    Yeah, I can't help but remember the Irish girl from I believe last year. That was probably the most disturbing of them all.

    All neighborhoods change, but with so many crimes happening, it is pretty interesting and begs the question (to me) why here and why now? Is it because WP is so diverse with regards to the commercial strip, unlike other neighborhoods that are a bit more exclusionary with regards to services?

    I know why it is happening more now (because times are so bad), but how does crime and the impression that an area is not as safe, affect the residents in particular, the female residents in the area, since they appear to be the main targets. hmm

  • Yes, Wicker Park is terrifying. Navy Pier might be a better area for you, J. Kay. Also, you've been frequenting Wicker Park and Lithuanian Village since you were in high school? Where's "Lithuanian Village?"

  • In reply to JShep:

    It is so funny when crimes take place in neighborhoods deemed as "safe", people are so offended by the idea that something is changing. It reminds of the NIMBY idea, where it is okay to have countless crimes in other neighborhoods, but Not In MY Back Yard. Not here. We are too good for that! It is quite funny.

    All neighborhoods change. Wicker Park is no different, or any other community area. too funny but interesting.. thanks.

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    This is happening in Lakeview as well, think the worse the economy the more crime like this we see. Just this weekend someone was jumped by three guys and is still in critical condition. Its just frustrating that we work hard to live in a nice area then low class people from the ghetto come in and make us worried about walking around in our our neighborhood. It is also sad that 90% of these crimes are committed by young black males. Over 40 shootings this weekend in this city, 10 fatal!

  • Obviously yes!!

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