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Gang Turf Battle Brewing at Lincoln Square Park

By Patty Wetli | September 17, 2013 4:36pm
 Neighbors in the area surrounding Gross Park were warned of increased gang activity in the vicinity.
Gross Park Gang Activity Alert
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LINCOLN SQUARE — Residents of the neighborhood surrounding Gross Park, 2700 W. Lawrence Ave., received an unwelcome notice taped to their front doors Tuesday afternoon: a gang activity alert.

The alert was issued and distributed by the office of Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th) and read, in part: "Gang related graffiti has been on the rise in the neighborhood. We all need to take action to ensure that these gangs do not take control of the area."

The 20th District Police office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gross Park was once a Latin Kings stronghold. In recent years, a gentrifying neighborhood and an active park advisory council have helped clear the park of undesirable elements, according to Tim Czarnecki, Ald. O'Connor's chief of staff.

Newly sprouted graffiti indicates that two gang factions are now vying for the turf, Czarnecki said.

"Before anything takes a foothold, we wanted neighbors to be a little more alert," he said. "We're just asking the neighbors to keep an eye out. If you see anything, call 9-1-1."

Some of the graffiti has occurred during daytime hours, which may suggest the culprit lives nearby, Czarnecki said.

"We've asked the 20th District to make it a hotspot for us," he said.

Officers will be photographing the graffiti and analyzing it to determine which gang factions are responsible, according to Czarnecki.

The next CAPS meeting for Beat 2031, which includes Gross Park, is scheduled for 7 p.m., Sept. 24 at Swedish Covenant Hospital's Anderson Pavilion, 2751 W. Winona Ave.