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Added Jun 27 2012

We had the unfortunate experience of having a prowler/intruder come into our backyard and attempt to come in the house at 3:45 am. we are in teh 3700 block of north Hermitage.

I was already awake when I heard some pounding sounds in the alley, a few minutes later the person entered our back yard through the gate and the motion light went on (he was not deterred). He continued through the yard and was peering into our back windows and messing one of them. I screamed and he took off, while I called 911. The police came out (albeit two 911 calls and 20 minutes later). I got a good look at him since he was so close to the house and the bright flood light was on. Here is the description:

18-25 years old African American
5’9” to 6’0” tall
Slim build
Closely cropped hair
Light denim jeans, white sneakers, gray sweatshirt

The next morning when I went outside to check the our back gate area, I found a Hertz Gold Club membership card with name I did not recognize as any of our neighbors. It was apparent that the intruder who was here had dropped it from a previous heist. Lo and behold a little amateur detective work paid off…..We tracked down the gentleman who the card belonged to and called him….and no surprise, his house was robbed that same night.

In addition to the break ins, there have been 5-6 reported car burglaries within one week. Be careful and watchful out there.

  • Jen 16 yrs in West Lakeview

    JP...yes the other victim was home at the time, but the intruder limited himself to the basement apparently.

    The first 911 call I made, I told the dispather that the offender was still on my property and it was very much 'in progress'. The second call was placed approximately 20 minutes later when no one had shown up. From there, officers arrived fairly quickly.

    It was unclear to me or my husband if he was still in the yard, because he was having trouble exiting the gate (hence the card he dropped). And, despite the recommendations otherwise, I was not about to go and confront the guy, nor let my husband do so.

  • Frank T. Teacher | Rogers Park

    Arming people who've never shot a gun isn't the answer. She handled it perfectly.

  • Inactive user

    @Bill That's wonderful logic you have there. Unfortunately, it is completely irrelevant to the disposition of the real issue, which is that people like Jen and others similarly situated should have the means to defend themselves against crime. Regardless of whether gun ownership acts as a deterrent to crime (and it does, see "More Guns, Less Crime" by Professor John Lott), people should be prepared to defend their homes with deadly force against the criminal element.

    @Frank T. To lawfully register a firearm within the city one must, among other things, complete five hours of firearms training. One hour of training is devoted solely to range time, which includes proper loading, unloading, and firing techniques. Is one hour sufficient to prepare someone to defend their home with deadly force in the event of a home invasion? Unlikely, but it depends on your learning curve. This is why it is important for new firearms owners to visit a range frequently when they first acquire a firearm. Like any skill, practice will aid proficiency and increase one's comfortableness with their firearm. In the event of an emergency, the proficient and comfortable firearm owner will be much more confident than the unarmed individual cowering in their bedroom praying the police will interrupt the criminal attempting to enter their dwelling.

  • Inactive user

    Bill that is the most ridiculous thing I have EVER heard. Shootings have skyrocketed in Chicago but shootings that take place in a home are significantly down. NOBODY promised that handguns in the home would reduce gang violence.

    And to be clear handguns in the home was not willingly accepted by the city so nobody made an argument that won political support. The city fought all the way to the Supreme Court and they were slapped in the face by that court.

  • Inactive user

    @Frank T what is your answer on how to protect your family? Negotiate with the invader as he is punching you in the face? You did read the original post right? The Police showed up after 20 minutes and TWO calls to 911.

    Anxious to hear your suggestion.

  • Frank T. Teacher | Rogers Park

    Hi, Kathy. I don't want you to be anxious anymore.

    No one got punched in the face here, and if she were getting punched in the face, she wouldn't have her gun. She'd have to say, "Excuse me, sir. Please cease with the face-punching so I can go to my dresser, get the key to the protective lock box, then get the step-stool so I can climb to the top shelf of my closet, unlock it, and retrieve my gun that I learned to use in five hours so I can (maybe) shoot you."

    She screamed and he ran. I'm not necessarily anti-gun in the home, but once you make the decision to bring a gun into the home, the culture of your home has changed. I think she handled it well by calling it in, doing some investigative work, and making us all aware. She protected her family and gave us some knowledge to help us protect ours.

  • Inactive user

    I think the comment about protecting your family wasn't specifically related to Jen's situation but the broader issue of criminals becoming more and more bold in light of reduced police protection.

    While Jen's situation allowed her to escape a more severe situation had she been sleeping soundly it could have been a VERY different outcome. A prudent person who knows police protection WILL NOT be there in time to save you from a situation where someone is actually in the home needs to give serious thought to how they will protect their family.

    I for one have a loaded shotgun in the closet. I will use every possible method to avoid using it just as Jen did. But if a criminal enters my home I will shoot him as my family's safety is my only concern and any person who has forcible entered my home is not there for any reason but to do harm to them.

    I am not sure why you assume that people cannot be highly trained in a weapon. Many many of us are very capable of handling a gun, and learning to become proficient is very easy. Going through a training course (which by the way is a legal requirement to own a handgun in Chicago) is a small price to pay for knowing you can protect your family when we all know the police can't.

  • Inactive user

    @Frank T. Either Kathy's point went completely over your head or you purposely constructed a straw man fallacy in order to easily knock it down and win the point. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be confrontational, but I didn't know how better to state this.

    That the victim is even being punched in the face in Kathy's hypo is the point. If the victim in Kathy's hypo was an armed homeowner it is unlikely s/he would even be put in a situation where s/he is fearing great bodily harm or death. This point is arguable, but I think a reasonable person would agree that an armed homeowner is likely in a better position vis-a-vis an unarmed homeowner when confronted with an unlawful intruder.

    If your argument was serious, then you completely evaded Kathy's question: What advice do you have for the homeowner who is being physically assaulted in her home by an unlawful intruder? Or, in Kathy's broad language, what is your advice on how to protect your family from an unlawful intruder if you choose to remain unarmed?

    Are you a firearm owner? If not, from where does your knowledge of a changed home culture come? I am a lawful firearm owner. My firearm stays in a zippered case with one end permanently unzipped in a location that does not change. The magazine remains full and the chamber empty. Both my wife and I are proficient with chambering and firing rounds. The only time the firearm is removed from its location is for cleaning and oiling. I can tell you on a normal daily basis there is zero change in the "culture" of our home.

  • Inactive user


    If you have children and are concerned with having a firearm in the house, the solution is simple: Purchase a small gun safe with a digital access code. Such a method of firearm storage prevents children from accessing the firearm, but it allows authorized users very quick access in case of an emergency. Although education and familiarity with firearms are the best courses of action for children, having a digital access safe is a no-brainer for ultimate safety.

  • Frank T. Teacher | Rogers Park

    @mike (cont'd)? seriously?

    None of the ten words that comprised her question went over my head, nor did I evade them. I made it clear that I support Jen's reaction to the incident. I also responded to the thread and said "...I don't know what I'd do." Either you ignored my post or you were too busy getting charged up over the opportunity to push your agenda onto people. You talk too much, but I suspect you know this already.

    I have a lot of experience with living in homes with guns. If you make the decision to keep a gun in the house after not having one, the culture of the home changes. If you're comfortable with that, then buy a gun. I couldn't care less.

    How often have residents in this city used household guns to deter a crime-in-progress? Have you ever had to do so?

  • Curtis

    My very wise Aunt Stella always told me "Never have a gun in your home because instead of thinking out a bad situation it (the gun) will be the first thing you reach for."

    That being said I am a Southener and with 20 minute response times to an burgulary in process I would have a weapon in my home.

    Anyone thief after fair warning that dares to cross or attempt to cross my door step would be a dead thief.

    I'm not coming out to get you but if you come in or attempt to come in, game over.

  • lauren :)

    The description of this man sounds identical to the man I saw steal a woman's iPhone directly out of her hand and escape in a car with Texas license plates, also in lakeview. Weird things happening. The heat returns, and so do the criminals.

  • Monica B 6 year East Lakeviewer

    First Frank said "but once you make the decision to bring a gun into the home, the culture of your home has changed."

    THEN Frank said "If you make the decision to keep a gun in the house after not having one, the culture of the home changes."

    SO the culture only changes if you keep a gun in the house after NOT having one? That confuses me. I think you always make the decision to keep a gun in the home after not having one...since you don't keep the gun in the home and then go "I think I am going to make the decision to keep a gun in my home, aw crap....I already keep a gun in my home!"

    I have never been in a home where there has been a gun (that I wouldn't know about) and thought, "dang, the culture in here has definitely changed. It must be the new area rug! no wait, the new mirror in the bathroom? NO! its a GUN! its so uncultured around here."

    90% of my families homes have guns...and the culture seems perfectly fine to me. Guns locked if children in the home. All family and friends know that if you come into one of the gun owning homes unannounced, you risk being shot.

  • There was a younger guy in our neighborhood (4400 N block of Paulina) trying all of the car doors as he walked down the street at 5:30 pm earlier this week.

  • Inactive user

    @Jennifer Did you call the police?

    @Frank T. One thing I know from arguing for a living is that when someone resorts to claiming the other is "pushing an agenda" then he is no longer interested in the merits of the debate. So be it.

    I am curious about this "culture" you speak of and how it changes when a firearm is introduced into the home. Please elaborate at your convenience.

  • Yes. And a neighbor of mine saw it happen again last night around 10:30pm. I will make sure to not leave anything out in my car and double/tripe check that I lock it.

  • My car got robbed last night- went out this am to find the glove compartment emptied - he popped the trunk and stole my golf clubs. Does anyone have a description of the guy? 4300 N. Paulina.

  • Frank T. Teacher | Rogers Park

    @monica: good reading comprehension. I lived in a house with guns for 23 years. After that, I lived in my own home without guns. K?

    I don't question the safety procedures of responsible gun owners at all. Safes, lockboxes, digital, manual...whatever. What's the procedure for sudden attacks like the one Jen experienced? What's the protocol? Does the woman stand there and get the mess kicked out of her while the man keys in the code to the safe and retrieves the gun?

    Gun owners here are such tough talkers. I'm impressed. I'm assuming you've shot someone before or drawn the weapon to thwart a break-in. Please tell us about it.

    Jen's a goddamn hero for what she did.

  • Jen 16 yrs in West Lakeview

    That sucks about your clubs and car Molly.

    Do we think the mayor knows all of this is happening within just a couple blocks of his house?!

    Jennifer-Keep calling the police and maybe even try and get a picture of the kid if you can. If there's a way to do that without endangering yourself.

  • Inactive user

    @Frank T. I'm going to help you out a bit a just copy/paste from my earlier posts:

    "In the event of an emergency, the proficient and comfortable firearm owner will be much more confident than the unarmed individual cowering in their bedroom praying the police will interrupt the criminal attempting to enter their dwelling. This point is arguable, but I think a reasonable person would agree that an armed homeowner is likely in a better position vis-a-vis an unarmed homeowner when confronted with an unlawful intruder."

    It's not about being some contemporary John Wayne or some hick who "loves god, guns, and country," it's about being intelligent and prepared when faced with a potentially lethal situation. Where is the "tough talk?" Address the arguments head on instead of offering garbage like "pushing an agenda" and "gun owners here are such tough talkers."

  • matcol70 Luvlview

    What I would like to know is: how many guns in a household have actually stopped a crime versus how many guns in a household have actually been used to commit suicide or caused an accidental shooting?

  • Frank T. Teacher | Rogers Park

    I'll repeat my head-on questions in case you missed it, mike: How many times have you drawn your weapon to thwart an intruder? How many times have you shot someone?

    My educated guess is zero, but, please: let me know if I'm wrong.

    It would be just as effective to put a sign on your house that reads "gun owner on board" than to actually have a cleaned, oiled pistol locked away in a digital safe.

    If you can answer without employing any of your own self-aggrandizing and patronizing "garbage," then let's talk because I am, indeed, genuinely interested in the issue at hand.

  • Pete F. Lifelong Chicagoan, Proud Democrat

    These gun comments are all horribly off topic. Please, take your tit for tat spats over ideology off this site!

    I hear there's a reddit for that...

  • Monica B 6 year East Lakeviewer

    Ohhh frank. I can say if I were in the OPs situation, as soon I heard the noise I would grab my "judge" handgun from my night stand. Then when I went to investigate the noise I would be ready to defend my self. Criminals aren't incredibly stupid...and tend to rob the weak and unarmed. If robber was picking my locks to myplace and I was on the other side of the door and said li have a loaded shot gun" and then pumped it, do you think robber would take his chances? Nope. I be ready if I'm ever in this circumstance.

  • Monica B 6 year East Lakeviewer

    How on earth is the gun issue off topic? Were telling the OP to be ready to defend if the time comes, and explaining her gun ownership rights. She can take or leave the advice, but its good information for all to know.

  • Inactive user

    @Frank T. I thought Peter did a good job above of demonstrating the irrelevancy of your question, but I guess I'll spell it out for you.

    1) Has my home ever been unlawfully entered into? No.
    2) Do I lock the doors every time I leave? Yes.

    1) Have I ever been in an automotive accident? No.
    2) Do I wear my seat belt every time I get in my car? Yes.

    1) Have I ever been struck crossing the street? No.
    2) Do I look both ways before crossing the street? Yes.

    1) Have I ever suffered a home invasion? No.
    2) Do I keep a firearm for protection in case of home invasion? Yes.

    You are trying to prove a point by arguing that a lack of experiencing a home invasion is reason enough that one should not keep a firearm in the home. This is ludicrous. Merely because I've never been in an auto accident is not a sufficient reason for me to forgo wearing my seat belt. Merely because I've never been struck crossing the street is not a sufficient reason for me to forgo looking both ways before I cross.

    How many times during his/her career does a police officer have to draw his weapon and fire? I would suspect that for the great majority of police officers the number is zero. Should this be a sufficient reason for a police officer to forgo carrying his firearm?

    Do you want to tell me about this home "culture change" now?

    @Pete F. So, you want people to stick their head in the sand and not debate issues that are clearly pertinent to the original poster's topic? Sounds a little Republican of you, no?

  • Jen 16 yrs in West Lakeview

    Neighbors---Full stop on the debate please.

    As the OP, my intent was to inform the neighborhood about an incident. I did that, but now I think this message is being diluted by the current discourse, please set up another thread to debate this.

    I would hate to see neighbors miss the other crimes that people have reported via this thread because they do not want to read through a discussion on guns.

  • I had a very similar incident occur at my house on Roscoe near Southport back about two months ago. It was a Friday morning and a person that fits the same description walked through my back gate and onto my deck and started looking in the sliding back door. I happened to be at home and ran outside and told him to get off my property.

    I called the police who showed up 15-20 later and were no help. The officer that arrived barely looked at me from sitting in his suburban and then gave me attitude when he repeatedly asked if the would be intruder came into the house after telling him twice that he was looking through the glass when I ran outside at him.

    A neighbor next door was robbed two weeks ago in an apartment and another had their car broken into over this last weekend.

  • matcol70 Luvlview

    You having a gun isn't going to prevent a home invasion. It's just going to increase the chances someone will get shot if there is one. and that someone isn't always the invader.

  • Jen 16 yrs in West Lakeview

    Michael-That's what is really troubling me as well, there does not seem to be much attention given to this from a police standpoint.

    These guys are going beyond garage breakins and car thefts to boldly trying to enter homes while people are there.

    Most troubling to me is that they do not seem to record any of these calls and there are no reports filed.

    The only way we find out about these incidents is through neighbors or here on everyblock.

  • Inactive user

    Me having a gun isn't intended to stop a home invasion. It's intended to stop the invader.

  • Inactive user

    Jen the Police prioritize the crimes that are reported to them. Unless I missed something what has been discussed here is simple theft/burglaries and that candidly gets a very low priority.

    When you say there does not seem to be much attention given to this what exactly are you referring to? The robberies?

  • @Mike - I can say from firsthand experience with dealing with the police that day that had they been there quicker they may have been able to at least question the person that came onto my property. At the very least the particular police officer that arrived that I spoke to never even got out of the suburban, or had the decency to look at me while we were talking with his sunglasses on. I have friends on the Chicago P.D. and Fire department and I know that it does not apply to everyone on the force, but in this case and numerous stories from my neighbors there have not been good experiences.

    I moved a little less than two years ago from Old Town and there were times when we had to call police. The police were at the house within 2-3 minutes and were much more courteous. That area had the Marshall Field homes, so the crime rate may have been higher, but the response was much quicker and seemed more interested in attempting to catch the people as compared to simply responding to a call.

    There have been numerous incidents around the neighborhood lately and although it is most likely not by the same person it would make me feel better to hear more positive comments on response times and action by the police in the area.

  • L

    I wish there was a way to find out about crimes/attempted crimes in a particular neighborhood right after they are reported. I know that we can use Everyblock which sources its information from the police website, but that information is not complete and it is not timely.

    I watch here. I read the local blogs, etc., but those sources don't account for everything. If neighbors hear about problems more quickly they can do a better job of looking for cars, perpetrators, etc.

    I'm not going to call the cops if I see someone walking down the street. However, if I know that person matches a description of someone causing problems, I will.

  • Jen 16 yrs in West Lakeview

    HI Mike-The issue I have is that when I called 911, the guy was still in my yard looking in the window. I was hysterical but I made it very clear to the dispatcher that this was a crime in progress. So I would expect more priority.

    20-25 minutes is not a good response time to an in progress crime. I had to call 911 again because I had no idea of knowing whether this guy was still on my property or not. The dispatcher was very surpised that no one had responded yet.

    A few years back i called about an in progress robbery when I witnessed two guys breaking into a neighbors garage during the day. The police were on hand in 3 minutes and were able to arrest the guys on the spot. Turns out one had a warrant out for attempted murder.

  • Jen 16 yrs in West Lakeview

    L--this also frustrates me. We need the crime stats and information. EveryBlock is a leader in trying to FOIA it out of the cpd, but to no avail so far.

    It would go a long way in helping with 'community ' policing efforts.

  • I'm with Pete...All right already !! Please keep your personal views and opinions to your selves or schedule a time to personally meet so you can either debate it out or duke it out....WE DON"T CARE!!! What we do care about is being given the heads up on what's going on in our neighborhoods so that we can be more alert, more focused and more vigilant in keeping our selves and our families safe.

  • Jen, I'm on you block and this scares the bejesus out of me. Are you on the west or east side of the street and do you have a lock on your gate?

  • Inactive user

    Molly use the mute if you don't like a users commentary. I don't think you were appointed the role of posting police. God knows I have read a lot of your "personal views and opinions" posted here.

  • Curtis

    Occasionally the threads tend to get off subject. I at that point MUTE the conversation.

    Molly give it a try.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff because it is off topic.
  • You'd think this is Washington DC with the amount of bickering caused by a non-controversial original post.

    Two possible ways of deterring these brazen thieves: a dog (ours looks mean, though he isn't, and he barks really loudly at any noise outside the house) and a burglar alarm. Our burglar-alrm service, Alert, provides decals to put on the windows and doors saying that the house is protected by their service. Might do nothing--or might cause a thief to try elsewhere.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff because it is off topic.
  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff because it is off topic.
  • Did he look anything like the guy who hit my place? I have a photo in my everyblock about it.

  • Jen 16 yrs in West Lakeview

    Hi Dan-The guy at my place was thinner in build. That sucks about your bike. I have no doubt that these guys are working in teams across the neighborhood though. Nice that you go the photos, hopefully something can come of that.

  • Link N. Parker Long-time Lakeview/LP resident

    The Lakeview Crime Spree continues...roving gangs of hostile loiterers up and down Halsted and the side streets...and out on Belmont too...and now home break ins...folks, we have to figure out some way of organizing some sort of Community Watch or some sort of volunteer groups that patrol the make it known to the criminals that we are aware of their activities so that they will stop coming to the neighborhood.

  • Inactive user

    And these "gangs of hostile loiterers" are connected to the home invasions how? Sounds awfully similar to Chicken Little logic.

  • Steve Entrepreneur

    Link N. Parker, there already is an organization that does this. The Guardian Angels:

    Chicago, IL
    Chapter Leader: Miguel Fuentes
    Mobile Phone: 312.217.7245
    Email Address:

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