We've been hearing much about Chicago's crime problems lately. Was it always so bad? Take a look at the Chicago Tribune from February 11— 107 years ago.
In 1906 our city was already known for the biggest Stock Yards, the busiest street corner, and the most railroad trains. Now Chicago had earned another distinction. We had the most dangerous police district in the world.
The Tribune called it “Bloody Maxwell.” Then known as the 21st Precinct, it took in the area west of the river between Harrison and 16th, as far as Wood Street. Each year, within this single square mile, scores of people were murdered.
“Murderers, robbers, and thieves of the worst kind are born, reared, and grow to maturity in numbers that far exceed . . . any district on the face of the globe,” the paper reported. “Stealing is as natural as breathing. Property belongs to whoever can take and keep it.”
In some families, four generations were active criminals.
The area was filled with recent immigrants.