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The nightly partying, conflict and noise at the corner of Mason and Madison was Broken by the sound of gunfire at 2:19 AM on June 25

June 28, 2011
By

Front window of home near Mason and Washington

The problems at the corner of Madison and Mason, less than two blocks from the 15th District Police Station in Austin,  resulted in a running gun battle in the streets of our 16 blocks in the early hours of June 25th.

According to neighbors, the nightly fighting, drug and alcohol use and drug sales at this corner resulted in individuals chasing others up our block Mason, turning left on Washington and firing multiple shots, causing my wife and I to duck for cover on the floor. We later learned our neighbors across the street also heard the shots and scrambled for cover before dialing 911. I heard what I think was 7 or 8 shots from possibly two different caliber weapons. We learned the next day that two of our neighbors had multiple bullet holes in their cars and another neighbor suffered a bullet hole in the front picture window of their home.  CANA has been asking for support for nearly a year with cleaning up this corner.  While arrests have been made, sweeps have occurred, the 15th District seems unable to “fix” this single corner in Austin, even after management promised to after being prompted by our appearance at the Chicago Police Board meetings.  What that says to us is that even when residents are vocal, creative and receive promises from top management on cleaning up a single corner in the “good part of Austin” as the Police describe our neighborhood, that the “bad part of Austin” has little hope.  We’ve sought help with even simple solutions that can help give the Police additional tools like signage to stop the all night parking, drinking, drug use and drug sales that occur from parked cars. Even this solution has been met with little support.

The partying gangs purchase liquor at all hours of the day and night from “Winners Sports Bar” and walk to the corner of Madison and Mason and proceed to drink. They leave empty liquor bottles in the street along with the black bags they purchased it in from the bar. The patrons of this bar loiter out front day and night and spill over to the corner and alley. They have even been seen loitering out front even when the bar is supposed to be closed. We’ve attempted to address this issue in a meeting with the bar owner, the 15th District and the 29th Ward Alderman but the problem has clearly not been solved.

Winners Sports Bar

We’ve also asked our Alderman for a meeting with police about a month ago after shots were fired at the corner of Madison and Mason during another fight and shortly after that a dead body was found in the alley behind Winner’s Sports Bar”.  The Police ruled this a suicide but several neighbors heard 2 gunshots, supposedly confirmed by the Police … as you can imagine we’re not comfortable with this disposition. 

So far we have had no response about the requested meeting.

These gangs of people also purchase drugs routinely stored in the many broken fence slats of the microwave transmission tower at the corner. We’ve asked for this to to be  fixed so that it cannot be a warehouse for drug dealers. Unfortunately they have not repaired it in a way that prevents continued use by drug dealers.

Microwave tower with missing fence slats used to store drugs

Microwave tower fence with missing slats used to hide drugs

   

Fueled by drugs and alcohol they party and fight and throw liquor bottles and drug packets up and down the block.

They have even started using the areas around trees that we attempted to plant for the children at the day care center as garbage bins.

The pounding music with vulgar lyrics from hyper powered speakers keep neighbors up many nights.

      

All of this behavior happens at the same corner as a day care center. The  center’s owner has told us that she had to install darkening film to her windows to protect the children from viewing the drunks that urinate in the window. This behavior is not just reserved for our children but occurs frequently in our neighbors front lawns.

"The Corner" and the day care center

In this new era of Accountability and Transparency in Chicago, who should be held accountable for this ongoing failure?

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