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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