Monday, October 28, 2013

Man shot 3 times near 54th and Cornell

This past Sunday (10/27) at 8:55 PM, a 55 year-old man was walking at 54th and Cornell when he was shot three times. The victim had previously been in an argument with another individual, and police believe that the shooting was related. The Chicago Tribune reported on the story Sunday night before condensing it into an article with all the other weekend shootings. The map below shows the location of the shooting in East Hyde Park. You can also see UChicago in the lower left corner of the map for reference.

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In many respects, this incident is similar to the murder that happened around 52nd and Blackstone back in April. It was a relatively isolated incident that was unlikely to affect the wider community in any way. The victim and perpetrator were almost certainly uninvolved with UChicago, and had absolutely no interest in involving either residents or community members in their dispute. So that should be some small comfort for those who live near the 54th and Cornell area, or those who are just generally worried about urban violence. Similarly, although many students might turn towards the default "Gang-related" explanation to explain this shooting (as with most Chicago gun incidents), that is probably off base. The shooter and/or victim may have gang affiliation in some sense, but the shooting does not presage some explosive Wire Season 3 style of gang war that is soon to sweep the mean streets of Hyde Park.

That said, there are still some causes for alarm. For one, the UCPD again did not send out a security alert. I am on the UCPD text alert program, and didn't get so much as a word from them. This is in stark contrast to the time that a water main burst on 56th and University, which led to over a half dozen texts updating me every ten minutes on the status of that all-important pipe. But nothing on the shooting.

On the one hand, the UCPD is right to not incite a panic. UChicago students are notoriously alarmist in interpreting urban violence, and the last thing the UCPD wants is some rumor about an impending gang war right off the 6 bus stop. Moreover, it's the sort of incident that makes Hyde Park appear much less safe than it actually is. Our neighborhood is one of the safest in the city, but stories like this can tarnish an otherwise golden reputation. Besides, no one wants students fleeing from UChicago or choosing not to apply just because two gentlemen happened to get into an argument within 2 miles of our campus.

But on the other hand, the UCPD has a responsibility to the community and the student body to keep us safe. Retaliatory shootings are all too common in Chicago; indeed, the April murder near 52nd and Blackstone was itself revenged in a later murder in the exact same area. Our city's criminals are notorious for indiscriminate trigger-pulling and terrible aim, with bystanders and residents having as much (if not more) to fear than the actual target. Bullets that miss their mark are liable to careen through living room windows, front doors, passing cars, and anyone who happens to be walking home at night from the library. Students need to know where these incidents occur so they can make informed decisions about how they conduct themselves through the neighborhood. By not alerting the student body to this attack, let alone the community at large, the UCPD is not living up to its mandate of protecting students. That is not to knock the UCPDs other work, which is professional, commendable, and extensive. But it is to criticize their handling of this particular incident, at least from a public relations perspective.

Be extra alert and cautious when walking in the East Hyde Park. Although a retaliatory shooting is unlikely (The shooter/victim may not even have lived near here), it is nonetheless possible.

1 comment :

  1. "I am on the UCPD text alert program, and didn't get so much as a word from them. This is in stark contrast to the time that a water main burst on 56th and University"

    Good point! And thanks for writing this!