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Why is there so much violence and crime in Chicago's Englewood Community

Updated on April 6, 2012

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


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    • nina64 profile image
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      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello, I couldn't agree more with your statement. The parents as well as the elders need to take more control over their children to ensure that they will not become targets for gangs. I thank you for reading and commenting on my hub.

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      the lie 5 years ago

      No! We are intimidated by the gangs at a young age,force to join a gang at a young age,starting about 9 or ten years old. The elderly are the key,if they know their child is a threat to society, take them in the basement and do to them what they do to others.

    • nina64 profile image
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      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello Reddy 2, I agree that welfare is part of the problem that our communities face, but along with the lack of jobs and secure recreational facilities for our youth only make this issue even worse. As a child, my parents used welfare only as a cushion until they were able to find work, but this was back in the 70's. I grew up in a rough neighborhood. I am not a product of my environment. Today, I'm a hard working productive citizen who refuses to believe all the stereotypes of our communities. The gangs and the drugs have taken over our streets and the young people are somehow brainwashed into thinking that this illegal activity will do them good. I still say that it's up to the parents to start raising their children while they are young and instill old fashioned values so that they too can become responsible citizens.

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      Reddy 5 years ago

      And Nina simple experiment can prove the damage welfare does buy a cat or dog raise it a year stop feeding it and giving it water the cat or dog will lash out and either survive or die its human nature. Now buy a dog and let it run free it most likely will be just fine because it learned how too survive on its own.and I am in no way saying any of us are dogs or cats just we are closer to them trying to hit home

    • bn9900 profile image

      Clayton Hartford 5 years ago from Alger WA

      Nina- you are right to each their own. I told my wife we'd try it her way, but if the kid doesn't respond and get really out of line then its spanking. We shall see.

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      Reddy 5 years ago

      Hi Nina didn't know u were a moderater. Like I said I was blunt but it's true . When I saw this is reviewed before posting which no skin off my back if it is or not,just wanted too say from ur comments well it's refreshing and this was just too you take care live well

    • profile image

      Reddy 5 years ago

      Sorry most of what u say is true but ur not getting the fundamental aspect of civilization which these communities are deprived of.when ur brought up on welfare which most are there is no reason too strive or be better. For example as a teacher give a kid a c grade no matter he's right or wrong soon he will learn no need too try to well it's easy too see that they learn that skill don't try.where it started Roosevelt . I used too feel bad for the welfare com. But when u come to understand human nature that falls to the wayside it's a cycle and no1 wants too try to break it.yes this was short and blunt but trying too keep it simple I know there's more but it's true

    • nina64 profile image
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      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Bn9900, I can recall receiving spankings as a child from my parents to help keep me in line, it worked for me. I guess to each his own when it comes to parenting.

    • bn9900 profile image

      Clayton Hartford 5 years ago from Alger WA

      Your welcome,My wife thinks that spanking a kid is wrong, she thinks timeouts will work, but if that was the case you probably wouldn't have written this hub.

    • nina64 profile image
      Author

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello bn9900, I thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. It's so sad that the government is hindering the parents' efforts in disciplining their children. The crimes committed by these individuals are so blatant and cruel. If these parents do not get a handle in the raising and disciplining of their children, things are only going to get worse. Again, thanks for your comments on my hub. Be blessed.

    • bn9900 profile image

      Clayton Hartford 5 years ago from Alger WA

      Being born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, I read about and saw on the news daily about these crime ridden areas. All these comments are correct. First, teaching your kids begins in the home, then there is discipline, if you can't smack the kid on the behind every once in a while how is he going to learn. You need to be able to discipline without anyone telling you how to do it. I'll actually thank a parent for spanking their kid. Ther kid needs to learn, Time outs don't work, if they did we wouldn't have the issues we have today.

    • nina64 profile image
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      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Dear iamenglewood, Thank you so much for your comments. Parents in general need to step up to the plate in terms of being positive role models for their children. That is the only way to rid our Englewood community of the negative influences that seems to have a grip on our kids. Years ago, parents were not afraid to raise their children. Today, the government says we can't discipline our kids; it's called child abuse. But yet our children grow up without parental guidance in the home leaving them to fend for themselves. Our children then turn to outside influences that are negative in which they engage in illegal activities. It's a sad state of affairs. Again, I appreciate your comments.

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      iamenglewood 5 years ago

      Very good article , its amazing how the concept of cleaning up your own back yard in terms of providing positive structure for ones own children first seems to be overshadowed by so many think tank groups who seem to leave out the very ingredient that would bring out the best in our children and that is a " parents" role is the ultimate key to a child's success or failures .Again thanks for such a well written article.

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      KC Pickens 5 years ago

      Definitely nina64. I went off on a tangent about what we can do as a society even if we're not directly involved, but your point is the most important and powerful. The greatest positive movements of change have always taken root from the ground level when everyday individuals decide they want something better. Like you said, it starts with every one of us.

    • nina64 profile image
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      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Hello K.C. Pickens....no apologies needed!!!!! I'm enjoying reading your comments. They help to further explain my case. I'm all for change. But sometimes change can take place right in your own backyard. We have to start taking back our communities, one block at a time and everyone must become involved.

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      KC Pickens 5 years ago

      Great, great hub nina64! I agree with you on so many points. It definitely starts with the parents. The people who have the greatest ability to impact a child's life are generally their parents.

      I feel as though we must ask ourselves as both a society and individuals what we can do to improve the situation. Often, we look at all the wrong things when we try to judge how great a nation is. We should not judge our greatness by our GDP or the success of our biggest companies or our amount influence in the world. The greatness of a nation or society can be found in the conditions of its impoverished districts and people.

      Places such as Englewood, Compton, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation should be at the forefront of our minds and government. As you said, it starts with the families. Our government needs to start creating policies that produce an environment in these communities that will cultivate success and encourage parents to be great parents.

      Instead of enacting the Bush tax cuts so the rich can become even richer, that money would have been much better off going to education and business opportunities for the habitually struggling areas such as Englewood.

      While everyone always likes to say that America is the greatest nation in history and that God has blessed America and guided her every move, I see it slightly differently. America is a great country, don't get me wrong. It has been at the forefront of constitutional liberalism and democracy. However, it is not without sin. We must not be so naïve as to forget that this country was built upon wiping out an entire group of people in those of native descent and enslaving another in those of African descent. Those actions are long lasting and still have effects that have carried through to today as seen in the communities I mentioned earlier. As a country, we are indebted to try to make things right. A debt that we can never fully repay, and seem to have forgotten.

      I am sorry to leave such a long post, but I am very passionate on issues of injustice. This article was a great read, and I am glad that there are still people who want to see change.