WBEZ | kenwood http://www.wbez.org/tags/kenwood Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The crime of the century http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/crime-century-107200 <p><p>The Lindbergh Kidnapping . . . The O.J. Simpson Case . . . The Murder of Stanford White. . .</p><p>20th Century America had an abundance of crimes that were labeled The Crime of the Century. Chicago&rsquo;s version took place on May 21, 1924.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-24--Bobby%20Franks.jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 389px; float: right;" title="Bobby Franks (Library of Congress)" />Shortly after 5 in the afternoon, 13-year-old Bobby Franks left the Harvard School for Boys in the Kenwood neighborhood, and began walking the three blocks to his home.&nbsp;He never got there.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The next morning Bobby&rsquo;s wealthy parents received a ransom note.&nbsp;But before any money could be paid, the boy&rsquo;s body was discovered near Wolf Lake.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Teachers at the school were considered prime suspects.&nbsp;Then police found a pair of eyeglasses near the crime scene.&nbsp;The glasses&nbsp;were traced to 19-year-old neighbor Nathan Leopold.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Leopold said he must have lost the glasses while bird-watching.&nbsp;On the night of the murder, he had been out with a friend, 18-year-old Richard Loeb.&nbsp;Loeb was called in.&nbsp;He supported Leopold&rsquo;s story.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The police continued to question Leopold and Loeb separately.&nbsp;Their alibis broke down.&nbsp;They admitted they&rsquo;d kidnapped Bobby Franks.&nbsp;Leopold said that Loeb had done the actual killing. Loeb claimed that Leopold had done it.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Leopold and Loeb were unlikely criminals.&nbsp;They were rich.&nbsp;They were intellectually brilliant.&nbsp;But they also considered themselves superior to the common herd of humanity, above any arbitrary rules of conduct.&nbsp;They had killed Bobby Franks because they wanted to commit &ldquo;the perfect crime.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Leopold and Loeb families hired Clarence Darrow for the defense.&nbsp;To avoid a jury trial, Darrow had his clients plead guilty.&nbsp;Otherwise, he felt certain they would be hanged.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">At the sentencing, Judge John Caverly heard Darrow&rsquo;s arguments.&nbsp;Darrow reminded the judge that Leopold and Loeb were legally minors.&nbsp;They might be intellectuals, but they had diseased minds.&nbsp;The murder had not been brutal. Besides, capital punishment itself was brutal and uncivilized.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-24--Leopold%2C%20Loeb%2C%20Darrow.jpg" title="Leopold, Loeb, and Darrow in court (Library of Congress)" /></div></div><p>Darrow convinced the judge.&nbsp;Leopold and Loeb were each sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Bobby Franks.&nbsp;Added to that was a 99-year sentence for kidnapping.</p><p>The killers were sent to the state prison at Joliet.&nbsp;Both of them used their time organizing a school for the other convicts.&nbsp;In 1936 Richard Loeb was killed in a brawl with another inmate.</p><p>Nathan Leopold was paroled in 1958.&nbsp;He moved to Puerto Rico and worked in a hospital.&nbsp;He died in 1971.</p><p>The Leopold-Loeb case was one of the inspirations for &quot;Rope,&quot; a 1948 Hitchcock film. &quot;Compulsion,&quot; a&nbsp;more&nbsp;straight-forward treatment (though with the names changed) came out in 1959. The most recent book on Chicago&#39;s Crime of the Century is Simon Baatz&#39;s <em>For the Thrill of It</em>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/crime-century-107200 Kenwood residents react to policing policies http://www.wbez.org/news/kenwood-residents-react-policing-policies-105267 <p><p>Dhyia Thompson lives a block away from the kid-friendly park where Hadiya Pendleton was killed Tuesday night.</p><p>Ironically, Thompson said there&rsquo;s always police presence on that quiet strip where she often walks her dog.</p><p>She&rsquo;s part of Concerned Citizens of Bronzeville, a community group that starts in North Kenwood and stretches west. Thompson said when the streets get hot, Chicago police are deployed - but only for a short spell. Then they&rsquo;re sent to the next hot spot.</p><p>&ldquo;They built a relationship with businesses and residents. They know who the problem people are,&rdquo; Thompson said. &ldquo;We lose that whole momentum and lose all those positive attributes of cleaning up the crime in that particular area because those particular police officers were deployed.&rdquo;</p><p>But Thompson said she is happy to hear the about the department&rsquo;s move to redeploy officers.</p><p>&ldquo;What they do with those police officers and how they deploy them is another story. We have police officers in these communities but if they&rsquo;re not effectively working and on those beats and listening and understanding what&rsquo;s happening on the streets, then it&rsquo;s going to be inefficient,&rdquo; Thompson said.</p><p>J. Brian Malone, executive director of Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, said the issue isn&rsquo;t so much more police but effective policing.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of times we think the answer is just more boots on the streets but that&rsquo;s just a small part of the strategy. McCarthy has talked about restoring to the beat cop model is a good idea and recognizes you need community input, community engagement. Our mayor doesn&rsquo;t seem to value you that,&rdquo; Malone said.</p><p>The area is now in one of the consolidated police districts - a move many residents opposed. And Malone said a number of the shootings in the area are a result of public school mergers.</p><p>&ldquo;Young people were placed in schools that were from different neighborhoods. People stayed on their side of the line. [There are] fights when you cross lines and create a climate of violence,&rdquo; Malone said.</p></p> Thu, 31 Jan 2013 17:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/kenwood-residents-react-policing-policies-105267 Kenwood Blues Part II http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/kenwood-blues-part-ii-105255 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/muddyhouse.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="An historic North Kenwood home where legendary bluesman Muddy Waters once lived--and jammed--is the subject of demolition order now being sought by the city's buildings department." />After my <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/kenwood-blues-murder-muddy-waters-house-and-other-laments-105217">article Wednesday</a> about Kenwood, we ran a second piece <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-chokes-he-talks-about-shooting-death-15-year-old-chicago-girl-105225">about Mayor Rahm Emanuel</a>&rsquo;s response to Hadiya Pendleon&rsquo;s murder which included a chart that showed crime in the neighborhood in the last 10 years or so.</div><p><br />It said: &ldquo;The neighborhood has seen modest decreases in theft, car thefts and robberies. But what few shootings and homicides the neighborhood saw over the past 10 years has stayed relatively consistent in the single digit range.&rdquo;<br /><br />That is true. In fact, on paper Kenwood often looks better than many northside neighborhoods. I remember when I moved here in 2000, I had friends in Lincoln Park who were horrified and I got a heckuva kick showing them how their groovy area actually had greater incidences of robbery and assaults than Kenwood. (My friend&rsquo;s response? &ldquo;That&rsquo;s because there&rsquo;s nothing to steal in Kenwood.&rdquo;)<br /><br />But here&rsquo;s what the stats don&rsquo;t show:<br /><br />1. Crime that used to be concentrated west on Drexel Boulevard and north of 40th on Lake Park has now spread and east and south. Crime is now ubiquitous. (When I first moved down here, there were highrise CHA buildings on Cottage Grove, which have since been torn down. There&rsquo;s still plenty of public housing: Three senior buildings on and around Lake Park -- two are pretty well-managed and one hosts a lot of &ldquo;visiting&rdquo; grandkids -- and one regular CHA midrise. It&rsquo;s precisely in that corridor where the two new 450 unit mixed income highrises are going up.)<br /><br />2. Crime didn&rsquo;t happen quite as often in the middle of the day. One of the great shocks of the Lakefront Outlook&rsquo;s crime blotter is seeing that you can get your butt kicked at noon walking down 47th Street. Or killed at Harsh Park at 2:21 p.m. in the afternoon.<br /><br />3. The drug dealing is more widespread and brasher. The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/everything-gonna-be-alright-muddy-waters-historic-south-side-home-could-have" target="_blank">Muddy Waters house</a> across the street from me, for example, is between a school (Jacky Robinson Elementary is half a block away) and Kennicott Park, which has a busy Park District fieldhouse (half a block in the other direction, where there&#39;s a cop stationed daily from early morning to late evening). There&rsquo;s a stream of kids that pass that house every day going to and from both places. Right now, there&rsquo;s not only a dude sitting out on the sidewalk but the basement door is open, visible from the street, half blocked only by a slab of wood and tempting every one of those kids walking home alone to explore what has been designated an unsafe structure, red X ablaze on its facade. I need to stress that when we call, the cops come. Every time. Police response is very good-- but as soon as the cops leave, the dealers are back.<br /><br />4. The number of empty units -- not necessarily buildings -- is breathtaking. On the the two block stretch of Oakenwald where Pendleton was killed, there are three whole empty buildings and who knows how many empty units. As I said yesterday, on my block there are twelve I know for a fact, and possibly as many as twenty. These are incredibly tempting propositions for all sorts of folks: for the homeless, yes, but also for kids, for gangs, for drug dealers. We&rsquo;ve had at least one squatter in my building (one of the other residents took him in and we hired him to do some work around the building) but we know there are many more in the neighborhood.</p><p>And there&#39;s at least one other unmeasurable difference: Once, not that long ago, it felt like things were happening in the neighborhood, that things were on the up. But now it feels like we&#39;re barely running in place. There are a least two ugly unfunished construction projects alone in the two blocks from my house to the 47th Street bus stop that remind us every day of hope lost.<br /><br />Listen, I love my neighborhood. It&rsquo;s precisely because I love my neighborhood that I worry about conditions here becoming more and more troublesome -- not explosive just yet, but not unlike sitting on a powder keg.</p></p> Thu, 31 Jan 2013 13:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/kenwood-blues-part-ii-105255 Kenwood is becoming more troubled http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/kenwood-blues-murder-muddy-waters-house-and-other-laments-105217 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/S%20Oakenwald%20Park%20Google%20maps.jpg" style="height: 326px; width: 620px;" title="The park on S. Oakenwald Ave. where Hadiya Pendleton was killed Tuesday. (Google maps)" /></div><p>Let me tie a few of this week&rsquo;s stories together &mdash; all them anchored in my neighborhood, at least one literally right across the street from me.<br /><br />First, the utterly horrific and senseless murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the King College Prep <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-king-college-prep-shooting-0130-20130130,0,796587.story">sophomore who was shot dead </a>at a little park on a very quiet street two blocks from my house. I&rsquo;ve driven by that park literally hundreds, if not thousands of times, since I moved here more than a dozen years ago. I strolled by there with my son last fall, looking forward to when he was old enough to go down that slide.<br /><br />I woke up to this Facebook status yesterday from a friend whose child attends King: &ldquo;Damn. I hope this is the first and only time I have to give one of my kids grief counseling &mdash; a friend of my 14yo was shot and killed while she was walking home today. This world is rough.&rdquo;<br /><br />Yes, pretty damn rough, though you might not get just how rough from reading the <em>Tribune</em> story, for example, which goes out of its way to quote an Oakenwald neighbor of 19 years time: &quot;It&#39;s a great neighborhood. Nothing like this has happened since I&#39;ve been here.&rdquo;<br /><br />True enough, there have been few crimes on that stretch of Oakenwald, tucked just east of Lake Park. According to WBEZ&#39;s gang map, we&#39;re in a little <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2012-09-24/chicago-gangs-abound-where-are-they-102612">gang-free oasis</a>. But here&rsquo;s what the news isn&rsquo;t telling you: There&rsquo;s plenty of crime going on around Oakenwald: drugs, burglaries, armed robberies.<br /><br />The <em>Lakefront Outlook</em>, a <a href="http://hpherald.com/">sister paper to the <em>Hyde Park Journal</em></a>, publishes a weekly police blotter that&rsquo;s a parade of pain: the petty and increasingly not so petty crimes that slowly chip away at any feeling of security or hope. And here&rsquo;s something else: That sweet little park where Hadiya Pendleton was killed is in an area where foreclosures have jumped considerably in the last few years, where, in fact, empty and boarded up houses are no longer unusual. The fall-out of the housing bust has left its debris all over Kenwood, which was overdeveloped and abandoned. (Out of 22 sales in the last year or so in my neighborhood, according to my bank, at least 14 have been foreclosures.)<br /><br />Empty and boarded up houses like the Muddy Waters place, which my colleague Lee Bey <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-01/everything-gonna-be-alright-muddy-waters-historic-south-side-home-could-have">wrote about here</a> last week. I&rsquo;ve known that house since long before I could look out on it from my living room. As a high school kid, I was one of a handful of non-African-Americans who&rsquo;d occasionally come by, especially on weekend summer afternoons when it was sweltering in Muddy&rsquo;s basement studio, with the hope of catching a glimpse and song from the blues great right in his own front yard.<br /><br />Since I&rsquo;ve been living here, I&rsquo;ve seen all sorts of tourists come by, sometimes ferried by bus, and snap their pictures on the stoop. A few times I&rsquo;ve witnessed clean-up efforts, and maybe a year or so ago, new signs for the doors (installed so they read &ldquo;Waters&rdquo; &ldquo;Muddy,&rdquo; one each panel, so you have have to read right to left ... ). I&rsquo;ve peeked in through the windows, walked the perimeter and, in the early years, when it didn&rsquo;t need a gut job, when demolishing it would have been unheard of, wondered why the city hadn&rsquo;t jumped to save it. And always, it seemed, when I called or wrote to the city or any entity I was turned on to, there was something already underway.<br /><br />Here&rsquo;s what I know now: The Muddy Waters home and the empty lot next to it, and the terrified neighbor immediately north of both, are the site of increasingly brash drug dealers. Cars come to a slow stop in front of the Muddy Waters place and greet the young men waiting there. They sit on the sidewalk, stroll up the side of the house and disappear in the back to conduct their business. Sometimes they don&rsquo;t bother to more than lean in the car window. And there&rsquo;s plenty of pedestrian business, enough that sometimes the young men take up residence on the stoop, or on the terrified neighbor&rsquo;s stoop. The neighbors call the cops, and they come. And the young men vanish for maybe a day. And then they&rsquo;re back, like clockwork.<br /><br />I wish I could say the Muddy Waters house is the only one. But there are more than 12 empty units on my block alone, probably more like 20. Go one block south (just one block west of where Hadiya Pendleton was killed) and the story repeats itself. Just north of us, a developer is raising two 450 unit towers, a mixed income project that had too much government aid to be denied, no matter how unnecessary to the neighborhood, which is already a wasteland of empty units. Think how tempting all those barren properties will be to the neighborhood&rsquo;s more restless souls, and how dangerous to the rest of us.<br /><br />The problem isn&rsquo;t merely gun violence, isn&rsquo;t merely not enough cops, isn&rsquo;t merely bad schools or lack of school choice, and isn&rsquo;t merely having few supermarket and shopping options. It&rsquo;s endemic, fundamental, literally from the ground up.<br /><br />How many more Hadiya Pendletons will it take for the city to take a good hard look at our neighborhood and others like it on the South Side? Many, I fear, way too many.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 11:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/kenwood-blues-murder-muddy-waters-house-and-other-laments-105217