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Added Apr 13 2012

I don't remember exactly how long ago they showed up, but the Air Jordans had probably been hanging on the power line in the alley behind my house for at least a couple months.

I thought maybe they were a prank by one of the kids who play back there, but I figured they most likely had some gang/drug siginificance. So tonight when I was doing some work in the yard I grabbed my extendable painters pole and knocked them down. Of course, they were covered in gang graffiti and had obviously been put up there on purpose. They were also black and gold - Latin Kings colors.

I know there are all kinds of urban myths about the shoes over the power line, but does anyone have any knowledge on the meaning of this? Is it just a way to claim territory, or some kind of message? I'm curious to know.

I might as well use this opportunity to stress a point that most people on here are familiar with, but I think it's important to make sure we keep the gang paraphernalia and graffiti out of our neighborhood as much as possible. The alley behind my house doesn't belong to any gangbangers, it's a public place for the use of the people who live on my block.

  • alex trebeck Ukrainian Village since 1990

    You dont have to wait for the city's GRAFITTI BUSTERS to remove tags. Have a can of paint handy.

  • I agree!! I always carry a couple cans of spray paint in my trunk ( got in the burbs) to give a quick spray to any tagging, If you paint over their crap two or three times within a day or two ( quick response is key) they tend to not want to see their "art" ruined and will go elsewhere or at least reduce the frequency. Most important covering their tags or graffiti denies these idiots any sense of ownership to an area , and this is their objective. Kinda like a dog pissing on a tree haha they are pathetic.

  • Andrew Electrical whizz

    I don't mind the idea of knocking out the gang tags (though painting over them seems to be just as bad, if you can't match the original color of the wall or whatever).

    But, Brian, please do not ever put your painter's pole up into the power lines again. That's 12,000 volts up there and it is unforgiving. I'd hate to see one of my anti-graffiti neighbors taken out by that. Call ComEd next time; they're slow, but they have the right tools.

    Anyway, some of the shoes are probably tagging, and some are just, "hey, let's throw crap up into the power lines and see if it sticks." If they're clearly gang colors (like the ones you found), they're probably either a boundary marker (if in that gang's territory) or a diss marker (if in someone else's). If they're not, they might just be shoes.

  • Joe Lake, Chicagoland Joe Lake, Chicagoland

    Cut down all shoes--safely.

  • Sam Logan Square by way of Los Angeles/Tampa/Philly

    I've lived in L.A., Florida, Philadelphia, and I'm on my way to Chicago in a couple of weeks... in every city I've lived in, I've seen shoes dangled off of power lines, but never heard about them having any gang significance. Are there verified examples of this in Chicago?

  • gpblight 15 Yr East Garfield Resident

    Had this same issue over our garbage dumpster 15 years ago! Welcome to gangland.

  • JQ

    It represents: that you can buy drugs there, pay attention to traffic and if car stop there often. Call your beat officer so they can investigate.

  • gpblight 15 Yr East Garfield Resident

    Not sure about this. But the owner of the lines can clear the lines. It could result in service disruptions on the lines the shoes are tossed.

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Posted to Humboldt Park

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