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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  1. I KNOW that it is impossible because it's unconstitutional and an extremely slippery slope, and I know that the real answer to solving the gang problem starts at the root of what causes people to go into gangs (and not building more jails), but man, sometimes I think until we start solving the root cause, that simple gang membership should be an offense subject to incarceration.

  2. They are like wild dogs, pissing on trees to mark their territory.

    The only difference here is that dogs have more redeeming qualities that these losers.

    1. The only thing the dog ever stole was my homework.

  3. Thank you for your coverage of this and working with our community in getting this coverage. I appreciate you paying attention to us!

  4. What a joke.
    This district is a joke
    These bosses are a joke
    The only thing you can count on is this blog and the truth being told.
    Thank You

  5. It is so lawless in the lake view area and criminals know this. If people are attacked the police take so long to get to them, they just leave. If that's not the case you have people who are not willing to press charges because they are too busy to keep up with the case. Lake view has turned into a criminals dream.

  6. How far are these graffiti "blind spots" from Rahm's house?

    1. He lives two streets west on hermitage, between belle plaine and cuyler. 5 min walk

  7. "LVHS administrators are trying to distance the school from the activity..."

    I do strongly applaud them in their effort to distance themselves. We must remember that these gangsters were never students, nor were they ever the children of parents. On the contrary, students and children of parents need protection from these gangbangers. The safe passage routes are an example of such protection.

    1. Really? To make those statements, you must know who these bangers are. Please forward their names to the police.

      Or are you just saying that to prop up the shaky image of Chicago's Premier Neighborhood School?

    2. I think it was a really bad attempt at sarcasm, although I am not sure. Chronically sarcastic people are offensive enough in person, but when they do not write well they should not try to be sarcastic because the meaning of their rants is usually misunderstood.

    3. Does anyone have an idea of how many members a street gang such as "the latin eagles" or the spanish disciples have in lake view? i know there are tens of thousands of gang members in chicago, but does anyone have an informed idea of the size of these gangs in our area?

    4. Most live west of ashland, but roots still remain. Some known kings even own business's in north center

  8. Thank Rahm, and the great merge! Please vote, it's time to make a change!

  9. Whenever I broach the topic of graffiti with those who "care" they always insist it's a form of artistic expression. I suppose the violence that follows such tagging is artistic expression too?

    1. First, I doubt this, and second, if someone thinks that GANGLAND graffiti is artistic expression, that person deserves some spray paint in the eye.

  10. Regarding the line about active bangers not living in the area... I think it's pretty well established based on the cwb reports that none of these criminals live in lakeview, they just hop on and off the train to commit their crimes.

    1. It's both. They definitely hop out of cars and mug people late at night and early in the morning. I think the train brings most of this bull**** though. I had my car stolen from right in front of my apartment about a year ago. I live a block from Southport and Addison. This past year, my new car has been broken into at least three times. This past summer I knew two girls that got jumped walking alone at night. Between the crime/danger and red light/speeding tickets.. I'm learning to hate this city I've always loved so much. Damn shame.

  11. Spray paint is just like guns. When it is outlawed and cannot be sold, only the criminals have it.

    1. Spray cans don't create graffiti, people do.

  12. True, LVHS was tagged twice overnight mid week before these tags showed up in the hood. The school just paints over it every morning. Then the tagged where they new it would stick longer