Why is there so much violence and crime in Chicago's Englewood Community
Englewood....Are we being picked on?
This morning, I just happened to pick up my Sunday edition of the Sun-Times, among the articles discussed were the amount of criminal activity happening in Chicago. Just a few days ago, 2 teenage young men were shot to death at a South side fast food restaurant, along with 5 other innocent bystanders who were injured by gunfire in the restaurant while picking up or ordering their food. We are losing so many of our young people to senseless violence. It seems as if there is not a day that goes by that there is a report of some criminal activity taking place in the Englewood community. Of course, there is much criminal activity that takes place in other communities of our great city as well.
It seems as if there is a stigma with living in the Englewood community. The lack of self control and respect for our fellow neighbor seems to have gone by the wayside. The abundance of liquor stores and open drug markets have paved the way for many of our young to people to indulge in illegal behaviors. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of decent, hardworking citizens who live in this community. I am sometimes afraid to walk alone in my neighborhood for fear of being a criminal statistic. There have been reports that state that criminal activity in Chicago is on the decline, but the violence in Englewood is on the rise. To me, that sounds like a stereotypical statement that's coming from some of our elected officials.There is also the gang activity taking place and they are preying on our young people as we speak..The elderly people are afraid to leave their homes for fear of possible criminal acts against them. You feel as if you are a prisoner in your own home.
How did our communities become this way? Do we blame it on the police? What about our elected officials. Or how about our churches? What roles do they play in the decline of our communities? What happened to the days when we used to look out for each other and our children? I remember hearing years ago that it takes a village to raise a child. My mother used to say to me that in raising children, it starts when they are young (literally when they are one & two years of age). Those days have long gone....many years ago. Our kids are raising themselves due to both parents working outside the home. And there are many single parent families too. I say it's a combination of many things. Unfortunately, the quick and easy access to illegal drugs have allowed many of our young and older people to become slaves to the so-called high that these drugs produce, leaving our young kids to become latchkey children. They feel as if they have to turn to illegal drug sales to support themselves and their families. I have seen so many young people in the course of a day standing on street corners of our neighborhoods peddling their illegal merchandise in the presence of our very young people. I have also heard of the vicious and senseless murders of our young trying to defend their so called drug territories. In my mind, I'm thinking, when is all this violence going to stop?
I find myself hearing my mother's advice.....to always be accountable and responsible when it comes to raising your kids. I will be the first to admit that I have definitely made some mistakes in raising my children so I'm not perfect. But when it came to knowing my childrens' whereabouts, I always knew that they were safe...with my mother and stepdad. And you cannot put a price on your child's safety. Also, talking to our kids and spending as much time with them helps a great deal. When you take the time to discuss the important values of life, it sticks in their minds long after they have grown up. I have found too that it's not what you buy for your kids, it's the time that you give to them out of your day that matters the most. In today's world, our children are being brainwashed into thinking that having the latest electronic gadgets or the high priced athletic shoes or clothing will somehow substitute for the time being spent with their parents. Not so!!!!!!
It would also help if we had some more opportunities in our communities such as recreational centers, and more jobs for the people in our neighborhoods. Our churches, civic leaders and elected officials can do more in this area. If our young people can stay busy and occupied, their minds will not be distracted by the lure of easy money and material gain through illegal drug activities and gang affiliations.
The problems in Englewood will not go away by themselves. Each parent can take an active role in the raising of their children by taking the time to spend with them. Constantly talking to them about the values of life, working hard by staying in school and other critical issues will help to stop the rise of criminal activity in our community. It is not up to the police, churches, our elected officials and schools. It is we, the parents who must start in our homes to teach our children right from wrong so that they can become productive citizens in our world