Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014: Our Most Widely-Read Stories Of The Year

The scene at Belmont and Sheffield moments after a shooting in the
hours following the 2014 Chicago Pride Parade.
To be sure, CWB's most important story of 2014 has yet to be written: A spectacular drop in muggings in Wrigleyville and Boystown after three consecutive record high robbery counts. More on that when the final stats are in.

For now, here are CWB's most widely-read stories of 2014. We think they give a good "big picture" view of where our neighborhood's challenges lie in the year ahead:

#10 IT HAPPENED: Man Shot Near Belmont/Sheffield; Person Robbed Nearby While Cops Guard Scene
The Chicago Pride Parade has enormous challenges to overcome. Controlling the crowd during the parade is one thing. Controlling the unmitigated mayhem that fills the neighborhood after the parade is a completely different animal.

Just as the 2 o’clock bars closed after the 2014 parade, a man was shot in a gang-related incident near Belmont and Sheffield. As if to demonstrate how overrun with criminals Boystown had become that night, a man was beaten and robbed near the Belmont CTA station while cops guarded the shooting scene just yards away. No arrest was made.

#9 BOYSTOWN: Woman Raped, Robbed, Threatened With Knife In Boystown Alley
A rapist followed a woman from the gas station at Addison and Halsted, pushed her into a garage behind an active construction site, threatened her with a knife, robbed, and raped her at 4:30PM on April 14.
Police at the scene of July 6th's double-shooting near Belmont Habor.

#8 VIOLENT NIGHT: 2 Shot Near Belmont Harbor; Another Stabbed Outside Wrigley Field; Man Dies After Being Found Shot Near Mayor’s House
Yeah. So that happened on July 6.

#7 DEVELOPING: Rahm’s Son Robbed Near Family Home; Luxurious Police Service Given
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s teenage son, Zach, reported being beaten up and robbed on the street just steps from the family’s Lake View home. Zach’s “Lake View Experience” is at least the third mugging on the mayor’s block in 18 months. No arrests have been made in any of the incidents, despite the fact that police video cameras are set up at both ends of the block and a full  5% of the 19th district’s police force is assigned to sit in front and back of the mayor’s home 24-hours-a-day…even when no one is home.

There's a cop car under that crowd somewhere.  (@runningwithcf)
#6 PROUD? Squad Cars Pummeled By Rowdy Spectators
For the second year in a row, overcrowding at the Chicago Pride Parade resulted in the near-destruction of Chicago Police Department patrol cars. If the Pride Parade stays in Lake View this year, figuring out a way to get the parade’s sizable crowd to spread out along its route rather than dangerously cramming a 3-block stretch of Halsted Street will be one of the biggest challenges.

Jacob Klepacz with "Billy Cub"
#5 DEATH INVESTIGATION: Man Found Beaten On Fullerton Dies; Had Been In Wrigleyville, Streeterville
Family and friends of Jacob Klepacz handed out flyers, knocked on doors, and cultivated media relationships for nearly three months before an arrest was made after the 32-year-old was found dead on a Lincoln Park sidewalk in late April. Other stories about Jacob’s case and the arrest of suspect Marco Alvarado in July also drew strong readership.

#4 NAUGHTY: 7 Arrests At Wrigleyville Bar Crawl
The drunken crowds of December’s “Twelve Bars Of Christmas” (TBOX) bar crawl was better contained than in some recent years, thanks to the presence of significantly more private security.

TBOX also arranged for private ambulances to handle emergency calls from the event. It turns out that there’s a little problem with that: It's a violation of the city’s contract with firefighters.

#3 BY THE NUMBERS: Pride Sunday Brings At Least 36 Arrests, 70+ Medical Calls, 24 Batteries
The Chicago Pride Parade is at a crossroads. Will organizers and the city find a way to make the event safe and better managed on the streets of Lake View or will the event be moved downtown?

Officers begin moving in after a huge "disturbance" at Montrose Beach. (@dj_OM8)
#2 UP FOR GRABS: Montrose Beach Riots; Closed By Police Order; Cops Exercise Restraint
When reporters called the Chicago Police Department's Office of News Affairs about this "disturbance" at Montrose Harbor on July 13, the department's professional spin artists brushed the story off as an officer injured while trying to break up a fight. And the mainstream outlets went with that version of events. Then, we began posting the videos.

Far from being "an officer" injured in a scuffle, Montrose Harbor was the scene of a mid-summer riot in which four officers were injured, some by flying bottles, nine people were arrested, and three CPD vehicles were damaged.

Once reporters caught an eyeful of what really went on, they smelled blood in the water, causing Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy to bristle during a press conference the next morning when reporters insisted on asking him about what went on at Montrose Beach rather than stick to the talking points he wanted to cover.

Police officers across the country came under intense scrutiny and criticism in 2014. Notably, not a single mainstream media outlets made mention of the remarkable restraint and professionalism exhibited by our 19th district officers in the midst of this bona fide riot. We suppose it's easier to second-guess split-second decisions ad nauseum. If you'd like to see those videos, and the officers professionalism, check out our YouTube channel.
Our picture of the year.

#1 IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN: St. Pat's Festivities Rack Up 21 Arrests, 17 Ambulance Runs In Wrigleyville
Powered by a wave of social- and mainstream media mentions, our recap of this year's St. Patrick's Day Sh!tshow in Wrigleyville is CWB's most-read story ever.
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