Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PAINTING THE TOWN: Cops, Residents Eye Gang Tag Surge In Nearby Lake View

Stop signs on three corners at Southport and Belle Plaine are tagged
"SGD" by the Spanish Gangster Disciples street gang.
A fresh surge of graffiti placed by rival gangs in the area of Lake View High School has residents and police concerned about possible gang tensions in the area.

Attention was drawn to the neighborhood in November after a shooting incident between Spanish Gangster Disciples and at least one Latin Eagle.

A huge Latin Eagles tag sprawls along this building, with LVHS
and its Divvy bike rack just steps away. This tag reads
"SGDK," which stands for "Spanish Gangster Disciples Killer"
It's accompanied by the Latin Eagles' traditional epsilon-like "E."

 
While LVHS administrators are trying to distance the school from the activity, students are certainly being affected.

One building directly across from LVHS's Divvy bike rack is emblazoned with a 10-foot long Latin Eagles tag. Another LE tag faces the school directly from the same building.

But police tell CWB that they aren't sure what to make of the new tagging spree.

With LVHS in the background, this
stop sign has been claimed by both
Latin Eagles and rival SGDs.
Cops haven't found active bangers living in the neighborhood or among currently-enrolled LVHS students. But, the school and the surrounding area has a rich gang history, and one working theory is that former students may be involved.

19th district leadership is said to be focusing on ensuring that any gang resurgence is kept in check. Units are being been placed on "graffiti missions" in the area.

Local residents have told CWB that local Alderman Ameya Pawar's office has been quick to handle reported tags, with some being removed same-day.

Nonetheless, one longtime neighborhood resident tells CWB that "this is the biggest surge of [graffiti] that I've seen."

A pitchfork, likely the work of SGDs.
Another resident reported to us that all of the fresh tagging was done last week.

"I sent the images to Alderman Pawar’s office, and they were very responsive.  Graffiti Busters has been out, and new stop signs are supposed to be installed today."

CWB took a walking tour with a local resident Monday evening and again Tuesday afternoon. The volume of tags is pretty remarkable.

We took so many pictures—and a reader sent us several more—that we thought we'd share them and help decode their meanings.

Here you go:

SGDK—Spanish Gangster Disciple Killer—is probably the work of a rival Latin Eagle. This particular tag
has been in place since at least October 2014, as it is visible on Google Street View. 3900 block of Greenview.

A montage of tags utilizing the Latin Eagles' primary mark: An epsilon-like "E."
The tag is often accompanied by 3 dots as seen top left.
Top Right: This tag, which faces LVHS, has the E accompanied by a
pitchfork with its tines bent down. The "inverted" pitchfork is a sign of
disrespect to the Spanish Gangster Disciples gang, which uses a 3-pronged
pitchfork as one of its symbols. Bottom: This tag at Southport and Belle Plaine was removed yesterday.
Stop signs on 3 of the 4 corners at the same intersection are tagged by rivals.

Here's a fun one in the 3900 block of Ashland. Spanish Gangster Disciples originally tagged this garage door with "SGD," placing a 3-pronged pitchfork inside the "D." Then, a rival gang—probably Latin Eagles—came along and added the "K" making it "Spanish Gangster Disciples Killer." The LEs also added an inverted pitchfork over the SGD's upright one.

A third gang in the mix is the Latin Kings. We did not see any tags that were placed by LKs, but we did run across some tags that disrespect them. Left: A simple "KK"—standing for "King Killer"—adorns a utility pole; Middle: The Latin Kings use a 5-pointed crown as one of their key symbols, Here, a rival gang inverts the crown as a sign of disrespect. Notice the upright three-pronged pitchfork that's jammed into the crown? That's a good indication that this tag was the work of SGDs. Right: A modest "KK" is seen at a construction site in the 3900 block of Ashland.

Textbook Latin Eagles tags in the 3900 block of Janssen. There's an LE followed by a 3-pronged pitchfork with its tines bent down, and the trademark "E" with three dots above.
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