Heightened crime in Pilsen sparks meeting among outraged community

Chicago News

CHICAGO – Neighbors searching for solutions to an outbreak of gun violence in Pilsen are pointing their fingers at city leaders for assistance.

At Lincoln Methodist Church on Chicago’s West Side Monday night, many stood and sat to voice their safety concerns amid spikes in crime.

“We have the right to live in peace,” said Yadira Hernandez, the sister of a man who was gunned down while parking his car on Friday, Dec. 3. Michael Hernandez, 28, was set to take the Chicago Police Department entrance exam the next day. Chicago police commanders pointed to simmering disputes between rival gangs, suggesting Hernandez was possibly mistaken for someone else.

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) called Monday’s meeting. Recently, Sigcho-Lopez has drawn the ire of constituents like Adrienne, who are now living in the middle of a gang turf war, according to CPD sources.

“I love this neighborhood. I always wanted to live in this neighborhood,” said the married mother of four, who declined to give her last name.

She and others believe Sigcho-Lopez is seemingly more concerned about gentrification and defunding the police movement than fighting crime.

“I don’t want to leave this neighborhood, but if things don’t change and I don’t begin to feel safer, it might be the only option I have to leave,” she said.

While Sigcho-Lopez declined an on-camera interview with WGN News, the alderman did say Monday night that he recognizes an increase in gun violence in his ward and across the city.

“As a community, we cannot normalize the situation,” he said. “We have over 800 people who have died during this pandemic because of gun violence.

“We need to come together. This crisis is affecting all of us.”

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