Agencies work to address problems at reported ‘gang and drug house’ in Jefferson Park
by BRIAN NADIG
Recent gunshots in an alley in the 4800 block of West Argyle Street have residents worried that suspected drug and other problems reportedly related to a multi-family apartment building on the block might not be over.
16th (Jefferson Park) Police District commander William Looney said that the property is on the city’s “drug and gang house” list and that the police, buildings and law departments are working together to address problems at the building.
In August, the law department obtained a court order to evict one of the building’s tenants, and city officials are working with the property owner to remedy the situation. Identifying the tenants has been difficult because the owner does not use written leases, police officials said.
Footage from a security camera shows that the gunshots appeared to have come from a car in the alley at about 12:35 a.m. Monday, Sept. 18, and that the vehicle fled by the time officers arrived, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police. Several shell casings were found in the area, and a resident turned over an additional casing at a Sept. 20 beat meeting, police said.
Area residents have reported alleged drug dealing and prostitution at the three-flat, with large gatherings of people in the rear detached garage, according to police. Two search warrants have been executed since the winter at the building and have turned up suspected drugs and a gun, police said. In May a man was shot in his pelvic area outside the apartment building, police said.
Police also have responded to two incidents of women arguing recently. In a Sept. 7 incident, a woman, who described herself to officers as a third-generation gang member, reported that she was arguing with another woman in a garage and that a man struck her in her hand with a pool stick, police said.
In a Sept. 11 incident, a woman reported that she had an argument with another woman in the basement apartment and that she was struck with a pole in the head, according to police.
In April the buildings department found about 20 violations during an inspection of the exterior of the building and the garage, according to the city’s Web site. The inspectors were unable to get inside the building, according to the department.
The reported violations included a missing or broken door handle, a dangerous window due to broken or loose glass and peeling paint on a portion of the garage.
The Cook County Assessor’s Web site lists the 102-year-old, two-story building as having two apartments, but there have been reports of a possible third unit in the basement, according to police.