suburban living

Chicago-Commissioned Study Confirms Crime Increases With Streetlight Outages

One of the things I noticed right away about this subdivision in the Chicago suburbs that I now live in is that it is incredibly dark at night.

I’m guessing that has to do with the fact that there aren’t any streetlights here.

While the area is safe, such minimal nighttime visibility is a concern for me should crime ever pick up or TSHTF.

I was reminded of this situation when I came across the following on the website of NBC Chicago affiliate Channel 5 this afternoon. Chris Coffey reported this morning:

A new study commissioned by Chicago’s Department of Transportation confirms what many people have feared: crime goes up when the lights go out.

The study, which was conducted by data experts and Ph.D. students from Northwestern University, found on average crime went up 7 percent across the city when entire blocks of streetlights were not working

The city-commissioned study compared crime report data with streetlight repair service requests submitted to “311″ over the period from April 2012 to July 2013. Researchers found an increase in theft, narcotics, battery and criminal damage associated with streetlight outages that impacted entire blocks…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yeah, my entire street gets pretty dark at night out here in the ‘burbs.

But at least my girlfriend and I have been purchasing and installing some security lighting around our property to combat the darkness. This includes:

• Outdoor motion-sensing wall lanterns- really light up the front and back when triggered
• Outdoor motion-sensing solar 300 lumen LED post lamps- With one in operation since spring (another on the way), it actually works pretty good so far considering the Chicago metro area is not exactly optimal for powering solar devices
• Outdoor motion-activated solar 600 lumen LED security light- on its way as I type this

All this is in addition to existing lighting that came with the house. With more coming (night vision is on the want list).

But more about security lighting in a upcoming “Project Prepper” post.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Coffey, Chris. “Report Links Chicago Crime to Streetlight Outages.” NBC 5. 3 July 2014. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Report-Links-Chicago-Crime-to-Streetlight-Outages-265639931.html). 3 July 2014.

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Chicago-Area Lakes Hit By Bad Fish Kill

A number of Chicago-area preppers/survivalists might be planning to fish the local lakes to supplement their diet should TSHTF.

If that’s the case, be advised of the following, which I read in a weekly roundup section in my Sunday Chicago Tribune:

Fish kill worse than usual, expert says

Another legacy of the harsh winter: The fish kill in small lakes around the area was worse than what one state fisheries official said he’d seen in 34 years on the job.

Here’s hoping this won’t jeopardize my shot at landing a big pike or largemouth at my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin this summer/fall…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago Gangs Completely Out Of Control?

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel today decried the weekend violence that left at least nine people dead and at least 36 wounded in Chicago, calling for adults around the city to instill the right values in their children and to stand up for the safety of their neighborhoods…”

-Chicago Tribune website, April 21, 2014

This past weekend, I read some interesting takes on the Chicago-area violence from individuals much closer to it than most. Billy Briggs of the The Daily Telegraph (UK) wrote Saturday:

It’s an opinion I hear later from another gangbanger with the Black P Stones. The Stones are one of the Latin Kings’ rivals and have about 30,000 members.

In the suburb of Maywood on the city’s west side, I interviewed an ex-con called Anthony, better known on the streets by his nickname, Chopper, an allusion to his role in cutting illegal drugs before distribution…

He says Chicago’s latest problems are a result of gang discipline breaking down and the rise of a new generation of gangbangers who are completely out of control.

All the structure in the gangs is gone, so there is no leadership. There is so much shooting going on, nobody knows where to turn. It ain’t the older guys, it’s the young guys, as young as 13. It wasn’t like that in the 80s or 90s. This is new. Some of these guys just shoot for fun.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

This perceived lack of structure and leadership was also highlighted in a different Chicago gang piece that appeared on The Guardian (UK) website this weekend. John Swaine discussed the recent shooting death of area rapper Mario Hess aka “Blood Money” and “Big Glo,” and reported Saturday:

In the 1990s, the aggressive jailing of gang leaders left behind a more fractured setup that is even more difficult to control.

“Back then, two of the heads could stand up and say ‘OK: enough, we gonna have a peace treaty,’” said Renaldo Hess, 43, who managed Blood Money before his murder last week.

“Now, it’s much more chaotic.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Chicago news crew catches shooting on tape”
YouTube Video

So the jailing of gang leaders created an environment today in the Chicago-area gangs where structure and discipline is severely lacking. Toss in some feral urban youth into the mix- and the rampant gang-related violence that’s constantly in the local news these days makes a lot more sense.

Kind of messed up we have to hear that from individuals on/around the inside and from overseas publications.

Whereas here in the Chicago area, all we ever get from the politicians, their disciples, and their presstitutes is that a lot of the violence comes from not enough gun “control.”

Yet, I’d be surprised to find out if even one FOID card holder was involved in any of that carnage over the past weekend.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Briggs, Billy. “Armed and ready in Murder City, USA.” The Daily Telegraph. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11240669). 20 Apr. 2014.

Swaine, John. “Chicago gang shootings go on as Mayor Emanuel boasts crime at ‘record low’” The Guardian. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/19/chicago-deadly-shooting-guns-rahm-emanuel-2014). 21 Apr. 2014.

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31 Percent Of Chicago-Area Homeowners With Mortgages ‘Seriously Underwater’

Memorial Day Weekend 2007. I had just launched my first blog, Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” from my apartment on Chicago’s Northwest Side. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, I don’t want to just focus on turmoil in the financial markets as part of a coming financial crash. I also need to talk about the housing bubble and when that monstrosity bursts as well.”

All of it happened (except Washington and the Fed managed to postpone the crash I was- and have been- warning about, leaving us with the “Panic of ’08″ and the Great Recession instead), providing me tons of material to blog about over the last seven years.

Now, my girlfriend and I were lucky enought to spot and sit out the housing bubble, eventually picking up a place last year for $117,000 less than it was at the height of the madness (according to one valuation). Regrettably, a number of friends and acquaintances in the Chicagoland area bought homes during the market’s craziest years, when price levels were incredibly high (in my neighborhood, some barely inhabitable “shacks” were on the market for half-a-million dollars back then). I really hope they aren’t “underwater”- owing more on their mortgages than their properties are worth- but I suspect a number of them are. Mary Ellen Podmolik reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Despite improving home prices, 31 percent of Chicago-area homeowners with a mortgage were seriously underwater in March, owing at least 25 percent more on their home loans than the property’s value, a new report shows…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

31 percent? That’s bad news for the Chicagoland residential real estate market. The last time I talked about the “underwater people” on this blog was last fall, when I blogged:

This past Sunday, I spotted the following about underwater mortgages in my Chicago Tribune. Mary Ellen Podmolik wrote:

A lack of inventory is frustrating potential Chicago-area homebuyers, and a report last week from Zillow explains why some homeowners might like to sell their properties but can’t. Despite improving home values, 35.4 percent of Chicago-area homeowners with a mortgage were underwater at the end of June, meaning they owed more on their loan than the home was worth, Zillow said. That means those homeowners would have to sell their properties through a bank-approved short sale.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So will that 31 percent “seriously underwater” rate improve anytime soon? Here’s hoping. But considering the economic headwinds still working against housing- I’m not going to hold my breath (no pun intended).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Podmolik, Mary Ellen. “Almost 1/3 of Chicago-area homeowners still significantly underwater.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Apr. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-homeowners-underwater-20140417,0,7135589.story). 18 Apr. 2014.

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Project Prepper, Part 24: Restart And Recap

It’s been a few months since I last published a “Project Prepper” post.

Considering all the material I have that’s just waiting to be blogged about, I don’t envision another layoff like that one happening again soon with this or one of the other series of posts currently running on Survival And Prosperity.

Today, I want to recap the “Project Prepper” series so far.

At two dozen posts, key topics I’ve blogged about since October 2012- when the first post debuted- have included:

• Starting up the “Project Prepper” series due to an increased awareness of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to life and lifestyle where I’ve decided to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning by doing

• Relocating from Chicago to the suburbs with an eye towards eventually settling down in Wisconsin (moved from Chicago to the northwest suburbs in late spring 2013)

• Establishing a prioritized list of 6 “innate survival needs” that my preparedness education will focus on:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

• Starting and building the foundation of an emergency water supply

• Starting an emergency food supply

Now, in these two dozen posts I’ve talked about items I’ve purchased as part of the “Project Prepper” series. For example, the Scepter 5 Gallon Manual Venting Water Jerry Can with CRC (Light Blue/Military Style) to store emergency water.

Going forward, I’m adding a new page to Survival And Prosperity this weekend entitled “Gear And Supplies” where I’ll be listing gear, supplies, and other items talked about in this series of posts and elsewhere on the blog- and links for where to buy them- if I feel they might offer something to readers.

It’s nice to be back in the saddle again. Until next week…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Graphic Shows Middle-Class Flight From Chicago

Back when I worked for a fire department in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, a veteran firefighter stopped by my office one day. I always assumed he was a lifelong resident of that area. He wasn’t. “Brendan” informed me that as a kid he grew up on Chicago’s West Side, near where the old Magic Kist Carpet billboard sign (those big neon red lips, remember?) used to be off the Eisenhower Expressway I think. I was told that the neighborhood was at one time very blue-collar, but by the late 60s-early 70s it was going to hell. His family saw what was happening to the area, and along with a number of other neighborhood families made the hard decision of leaving Chicago for something better in the suburbs.

I was reminded of that story when I came across a related one on the website of Chicago CBS affiliate CBS 2 last night. John Dodge reported:

The graphic that you are about to see is sobering, perhaps depressing, and you can’t take your eyes off it.

We have the exhaustive work of Daniel Kay Hertz, a masters student at the University Of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, to thank for that.

At the risk of sounding like an old carnival barker, step right up and watch the middle class of Chicago vanish before your eyes.

However, this is no side-show.

It shows the demise of the foundation of an American city.

Watch as the grey squares, which illustrate the middle class that dominated the most of the city’s neighborhoods in 1970s, quickly vanish over 40 years…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dodge was right. The graphic (after the body of the piece) is sobering, to say the least.

But not surprising to long-time Chicagoland residents or someone who’s ever run into a “Brendan” and has learned about their origins.

By the way, if the name Daniel Kay Hertz rings a bell with regular Survival And Prosperity readers, it’s because I blogged about a comparison he performed last year of homicide rates in Chicago Police Department districts from 1990-1993 to rates from 2008-2011.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Dodge, John. “Amazing Graphic Shows Chicago’s Middle Class Disappear Before Your Eyes.” CBS 2. 3 Apr. 2014. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/04/03/amazing-graphic-shows-chicagos-middle-class-disappear-before-your-eyes/). 4 Apr. 2014.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 73

Regular readers of this blog might remember that I used to reside on the Northwest Side of Chicago. When my girlfriend and I first moved into that so-called “suburb in the city” almost a decade ago, a number of our personal belongings were stolen almost right off the bat (plant delivery left in building vestibule, steel Coleman cooler in indoor parking garage, Sunday Tribunes galore).

Consequently, my sister declared at a family gathering that I had moved to the “ghetto.”

Some individuals might have taken offense to that. I reveled in it. In fact, “Ghetto Superstar” is my “handle” on a number of Internet forums.

Some years later, I informed my sister that I might be sending her a package in the mail. She responded that might not be a good idea since some neighbors in her building had delivered parcels go missing.

Alas, the ghetto had arrived at her doorstep too (albeit at the foot of the Rocky Mountains).

Last week, I stopped by my parents’ place in the west suburbs. My mom shared with me that some recent deliveries to their building had been stolen. Thankfully, none of those packages belonged to my parents.

Still, back when I lived in the “ghetto,” that’s where I had my stuff shipped to, thinking it was a safer destination than my Chicago address.

It was. Up until now, it appears.

Damn thieves…


YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, March 31st, 2014 Crime, Security, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Growing Illinois Fiscal Fiasco Makes Wisconsin Relocation More Attractive

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity may recall me blogging from time to time that as things stand, Wisconsin- not Illinois- looks to be my primary state of residence down the road. For example, I wrote back on January 29 of last year:

By the time I started this blog back in November 2010, I already had a pretty good idea I’d eventually be leaving the city of Chicago to reside someplace else. And every once in a while, I’d query the “best places” to live in America- should TSHTF or not. While the area of southeastern Wisconsin I’m looking at moving to in a few years is probably not “ideal” (even less so the suburbs of Chicago) from a prepper’s perspective, practitioners of modern survivalism would probably see more positives than negatives with the location. Keeping in mind that not only do I envision a certain lifestyle for myself down the road, but I also think I have a pretty good idea of what will be required to “survive and prosper” in America in the coming years, this part of the Midwest really appears to be a nice fit not only for me but my girlfriend as well. Here’s hoping it is…

Sure, certain Wisconsin taxes tend to be higher than in the “Land of Lincoln.” But at least it’s not a fiscal basket case, where I can envision Illinois one day leapfrogging our neighbors to the north when it comes to levels of revenue collection.

Chicago Tribune columnist Dennis Byrne reminded the paper’s readers just how precarious our financial situation has gotten here in Illinois… in addition to suggesting a state we might want to consider emulating. He wrote on the Tribune website on January 28:

Illinois is a stinking mess.

A steaming heap of suffocating debt, endless greed, blind self-interest and numbing incompetence. How we’ve been able to survive this long without plunging into the abyss is beyond me, and all reason.

No need here to document all of the state’s failures. Way behind on its bills. The nation’s worst credit rating. Higher unemployment than the nation. Business wanting to scram, fed up with an unfriendly entrepreneurial climate. Crushing pension obligations so far into the future that no one alive today, even if they ponied up every cent they made (after taxes, of course), will ever see the end of it.

Illinois is run by a self-renewing, power-hungry, piggish oligarchy so impervious to change (I hesitate to use the word reform, because true reform is as rare in Illinois as is the sight of Pike’s Peak) that it makes feudalism look good.

Don’t try to argue that a recent package of minor changes to the public employees’ pension system, grudgingly enacted by the serfs in the state legislature, is reform. Even if it were, it’s going nowhere because it will be dead on arrival in Illinois’ courts. That’s because the hoggish public employee unions were able, at the last minute, to ram into the state constitution a provision that guarantees their cupidity will be fed, well, forever.

What makes it all so vexing is how close the answer to our problems is: Wisconsin.

While Illinois is circling the drain, Wisconsin has saved itself from a similar fate and, in the aftermath of the longest-lasting recession since Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, is actually doing OK, if not prospering…

“Prospering.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard/seen that word associated with Illinois.

Which is too bad, because I really do love this state and my fellow Illinoisans.

But seeing as my goal remains not only to survive but prosper as the times become more tumultuous, Byrne’s observation further convinces me my future still lies up north.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Byrne, Dennis. “Illinois Should Look To Wisconsin.” Chicago Tribune. 28 Jan. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/site/ct-oped-byrne-0128-20140128,0,5528813.column). 3 Feb. 2014.

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Chicago Residents Hit With Fee, Fine, And Tax Hikes In 2014

Chicagoans- get ready for a bunch of new fee, fine, and tax hikes starting January 1.

Fees for certain parking and speeding infractions, impounded vehicle storage, and construction permit filings are going up.

“Amusement” taxes on cable television will jump 50 percent.

Beginning January 10, yet another cigarette tax hike of 50 cents per pack takes effect. Adding federal, state, and county taxes will leave Chicago with the highest taxes ($7.17) on cigarettes in the country.

None of this applicable to you? There’s more. I read an article by Hal Dardick in my Sunday paper (Chicago Tribune) this morning which warned:

The widest-felt effects will stem from the property tax increase enacted in August by the Chicago Board of Education and higher water and sewer fees set in motion during Emanuel’s first year in office as a way to pay for the replacement of aging mains.

The owner of a home valued at $213,000 can expect to pay about $51 more in school property taxes next year. It’s the third year in a row that Chicago property owners will get hit with higher school taxes.

City property owners and suburban governments that buy city water face a 15 percent increase in water rates. In some cases, suburban utilities will pass the increases on to people who buy their water. Sewer charges, added to city property owners’ bimonthly bills, will be 96 percent of their water tab, an increase of 4 percentage points…

“The owner of a home valued at $213,000.”

Not many decent houses down around that price level in my old neighborhood on the Northwest Side. Even in adjacent neighborhoods.

$51 would be just the starting point in that part of Chicago.

Dardick added later:

All of the new city fines and fees are expected to pump about $32.4 million into city coffers next year…

“$32.4 million.” Yeah, we’ll see.

Why such a “Doubting Thomas”? If anything, smokers who aren’t already doing it might be even more motivated in the new year to purchase their cigarettes outside of the Chicago city limits, depriving the City of Chicago of much needed and anticipated revenue.

Then there’s the possibility that a significant number of Chicagoans might become extra-wary going forward about being slapped with the well-publicized and more expensive parking and moving violations. More anticipated money gone.

And down the road, there’s already talk among certain suburbs of bypassing Lake Michigan water collected and distributed by the City of Chicago.

Regardless, Chicago residents- should they choose to remain in the “Windy City”- should keep on expecting higher fees, fines, and taxes in the years to come.

Then again, the same might be said for a lot of places across the United States.

But to the degree that I expect Chicagoans to get hit with? Not really.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Dardick, Hal. “Higher Chicago taxes, fines and fees for 2014.” Chicago Tribune. 20 Dec. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-chicago-new-taxes-fees-met-20131222,0,6847986.story). 22 Dec. 2013.

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Project Prepper, Part 21: Progress Report

Late August was when I last published a “Project Prepper” post. Because it’s been a few months, I want to take some time tonight to put together a “progress report” on how far I’ve come with my “preps” to date.

Back on February 27, I blogged that my preparedness activities as part of the “Project Prepper” series of posts would focus on the following 6 “innate survival needs.” In order of the priority I assigned to them:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

And why was it I made “Security” priority number one? I wrote in February:

Still, my gut feeling tells me right now I should be focusing on “Security” before other needs. Why’s that? Because this latest push for more gun “control” that’s going on in America right now could end up limiting my access to a number of tools and other accessories that I could use to construct an effective security setup.

I added later in the post:

Also, I’d feel more comfortable getting a jump on Water and Food (with water being more of a priority as a person can only last around three days without it, as opposed to around three weeks without food).

As for Shelter? Well, I’ve already done some work in this area as a number of readers already know, making plans to move out of the City of Chicago to the Northwest suburbs in late spring, with hopes of eventually acquiring a homestead in Southeast Wisconsin in a few years.

Finally, not much will probably be done regarding Energy and Sanitation/Health until after the move to the suburbs. But I do plan on getting some American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED instruction as soon as I can.

So, how am I doing with my preps?

Breaking them down:

Security- Truth be told, I had already been working on this area since 2009 when it became all too clear to me that wealth doesn’t do one much good when it can’t be protected. Subsequently, I have a number of different personal safety tools at my disposal now. I’m planning on adding more tools, related accessories, and lots of training as funds permit down the road. No time to rest on my laurels here (push for gun and other “control” relentless).

Water- Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve made quite a bit of headway in this area as well. For starters, I wanted to make sure my girlfriend and I had at least a two-week emergency supply of water for each of us. To achieve this, I acquired some new storage containers and purchased cases of commercially-bottled mineral water. As it stands right now, I have the capability of storing 25.11 gallons of emergency water in the containers, giving me and my girlfriend a 12.56 day supply of water each for drinking and sanitation if following Ready.gov’s calculations (at least one gallon of water per person per day). With the bottled water, we’re easily at that two-week mark.

Still, I plan on acquiring even more emergency water and storing it in used 2-liter bottles that have been thoroughly cleaned out, in addition to occasionally purchasing more cases of commercially-bottled mineral water when they’re on sale every once in a while.

Food- Haven’t made much progress in this area yet. Making a priority in the coming weeks.

Shelter- A lot’s been done in this area over the last several months. The plan to move out of the city of Chicago to the Northwest suburbs in late spring was realized, with the urban apartment exchanged for a single-family house in the suburbs. The acquisition of a homestead in Wisconsin still remains the goal. In the meantime, the house in the ‘burbs will serve as my “Project Prepper Lab.”

Sanitation and Health- Not much progress yet. Looking to book a American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class in the coming weeks.

Energy- Not much progress yet.

That’s it for my preparedness “progress report.” While I’m pleased with the progress made so far in the areas of Security, Shelter, and Water, I’ve barely touched Food, Sanitation/Health, and Energy.

Lots more work to do to satisfy these “innate survival needs.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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‘Mancow’ Moves Family Out Of ‘Unlivable’ Chicago

In the late 90s-early 2000s, I used to drive 30 miles each way to and from work during the business week (thankfully, gas was relatively cheap at that time). Therefore, I had plenty of time to kill during the commute. Back then, I used to tune into Mancow’s Morning Madhouse, a radio show hosted by Chicago-based “shock jock” Erich “Mancow” Muller once in a while. Mancow is going strong in 2013 with a presence on both the radio and television, and still manages to make headlines. Bob Goldsborough reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Calling his decision to leave the city “heartbreaking,” radio host and reality TV star Erich “Mancow” Muller has sold his Lincoln Park condominium and decamped to a house in Wilmette.

Muller, who is a married father of twin school-aged daughters, told Elite Street he’d had enough with city living.

“The schools are awful. I guess I could have had (my daughters) go to public schools, but I don’t want them to be stupid. I drove past Lincoln Park High School every day, and the kids are cursing and yelling and have their hands down each other’s pants,” he said. “And then, I was spending $45,000 a year for the (private) British School of Chicago. It was killing me.”

Mancow also said there were always homeless people outside his door and street parking he often used was raised from a quarter an hour to $13 an hour.

“I think they’ve done a good job of making the city unlivable for families. I’m so sick of feeding the broken government in Chicago,” he said.

“The schools are awful.” “I’m so sick of feeding the broken government in Chicago.”

Leave it to a shock jock to “candy-coat” his displeasure with the Chicago Public Schools and the Democratically-controlled City of Chicago.

Maybe I should start listening to Mancow on the radio again?

In all seriousness, it sucks that the Muller family feels things have gotten to the point in Chicago where they need to leave.

I wonder how many other Chicagoans feel the same way?

While some may think Mancow’s gripes are just “signs of the time” or consequences of “city living,” regular readers know my girlfriend and I just split Chicago recently after concluding we weren’t comfortable either with the direction the Midwest metropolis seems to be heading. Our “beef” has more to do with financial mismanagement and public safety- or lack thereof- however.

Unfortunately, barring a major financial crisis, “The Machine” and “business as usual” looks to be firmly established in Chicago for now.

From where I stand, however, it certainly looks like storms clouds are gathering on the horizon.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Goldsborough, Bob. “Calling city ‘unlivable,’ Mancow sells Lincoln Park condo.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Nov. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-mancow-leaves-city-elite-street,0,3188814.story). 18 Nov. 2013.g/chi-mancow-leaves-city-elite-street,0,3188814.story). 18 Nov. 2013.

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Chicagoans: Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

These days, there are times living out here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago that I feel like Henry Hill (played by actor Ray Liotta) at the end of the 1990 film Goodfellas.

No, not that part about Henry living the rest of his life as a “schnook.”

Rather, where previously I could step out my door adjacent to a major city artery and things were generally hopping, this suburban subdivision I now live in can be pretty dull at times (which isn’t entirely a bad thing).

Thank god the Italian food around here isn’t nearly as bad as what the other Hill encountered.

Grazie a Dio.

However, I was just reminded this morning of one of the big reasons why my girlfriend and I moved out of the city of Chicago while reading the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop. “016 Up For Grabs” discussed 5 people getting shot in less than 2 days in the Chicago Police Department’s 16th District, something that kind of hit home considering I used to live in that same district.

Now, it’s not like crime never happened in 016 before. It’s the big city, and the 80 percent of good, law-abiding people are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with the 10 percent of human refuse and remaining 10 percent who play by the rules because they’re forced to. I can recall walking into a convenience store down the street from me just minutes after it had been robbed, having a “welcome to the new home” plant stolen from my building’s entryway shortly after it had been delivered, and finding a big metal Coleman cooler stolen from my underground parking garage space- all within weeks after moving in to my old Northwest Side neighborhood, one of the “nicer” ones in the city.

Funny thing about that cooler. It used to store bottles of antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, engine oil, and more- none of which was taken even though it was inside the cooler. But plenty of which splashed around and/or leaked in that container.

Something tells me those bastards got pretty ill later drinking from those beer bottles/cans because they were too lazy to clean out that cooler before using it.

Karma’s a bitch. Or here’s hoping, right?

Still, armed with “intel” from Second City Cop and other alternative media with a local focus (Chicago mainstream media was hit-or-miss on reporting criminal activity in my neighborhood), Chicago-related research/blog material, and my own local observations, I realized that the 16th District had not only become “grittier” as it concerned crime, but it was occurring at a time when police protection in my area was significantly-reduced from when I first moved in.

Coupled with the City of Chicago’s financial woes that are finally coming home to roost? Chicagoans don’t need to be brain surgeons to figure this one out. Like I’ve been saying for some time now, more fees/fines/taxes and less government services seem to be on the horizon.

I suspect less police protection will be part of that equation, unless Chicago taxpayers pony up more of their hard-earned cash to at least keep the “thin blue line” intact.

And boy is it thin these days.

But I suspect increased revenues will be directed at Chicago’s public employee pension crisis and City Hall’s pet projects (where’s my park, dang it) before it’s steered over to the CPD and public safety.

In other words, Chicagoans had better be prepared to keep hearing “crime is down” for a long time.

In the meantime, City Hall still can’t comprehend that losing Downtown to all the wilding will see the City’s bottom line hit hard as word gets out.

Judging by recent MSM coverage nationwide about such criminal activity here, the word’s already out.

I wonder how hard it is to fudge tourism numbers?

While I would have preferred to have stayed in Chicago, and in particular, our old or the adjacent neighborhood in the CPD’s 16th District, considering what I see is in store for the area and our particular circumstances, my girlfriend and I made the right decision to move when and where we did.

Then again, that might not be the “correct” decision for other Chicagoans. Consider this. We didn’t have much invested in our old location. We didn’t own it (could have, but we steered clear of buying anything until home prices came back down to earth somewhat), we weren’t required to live within the city limits as required by a municipal job, we don’t have kids in the local schools, family and friends didn’t live down the street, the list goes on. So it wasn’t all too painful for us to just pick up and leave when our latest lease ran out.

The same can’t be said for others, and I respect that.

At least I, for one, have given you enough notice of what to expect down the road.

Prepare accordingly.

Is the “Second City” going to get worse? Could get “Third World” when all is said and done, and the ongoing financial storm finally blows completely through.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

SCC. “016 Up For Grabs.” Second City Cop. 13 Aug. 2013. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2013/08/016-up-for-grabs.html). 13 Aug. 2013.

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Project Prepper, Part 14: On The Move

Those who’ve been following my “Project Prepper” series of posts know that I’ve been planning a move out of the city of Chicago to the northwest suburbs by late spring (eventual destination, Wisconsin).

Well, it’s late spring, and I’m moving.

The closing is scheduled for next week. It’s the same house I blogged about in an April 16 “Project Prepper” post.

I also mentioned then:

Some time ago I put together a “wish list” for what I’d like a Chicago-area property to have. This includes the potential for:

• An emergency water supply
• A food garden
• Effective layers of security
• Going “off the grid”

Oh, I almost forgot to mention a fenced-in yard for a guard or watch dog.

This suburban property definitely has the potential for all these things. Partial brick construction, spacious backyard, an area all ready set aside for gardening, and more.

By this time next week, my girlfriend and I should have closed on the new place. Can’t wait to get in there, get settled-in, and get to work on a number of different preparedness projects which I plan on discussing in upcoming “Project Prepper” posts.

In the meantime, I’m awaiting a couple of new products that are related to my emergency water supply. First, there’s the LifeStraw Portable Water Filter, a personal water filter that removes dangerous bacteria and protozoa. I ordered the LifeStraw- which filters over 264 gallons- from CampingSurvival.com for only $19.95, which includes shipping (ordering info here on CampingSurvival.com). Also, I’m waiting on a WaterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage device- a water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub in the event of an emergency or survival situation- from CampingSurvival.com as well (ordering info here on CampingSurvival.com- at present, they’re out of stock). I look forward to checking out these two devices and talking about them in a future “Project Prepper” post.

More soon…

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Number Of Poor In Chicago Suburbs Increased 99% Over Last Decade

You may have heard this one before as it concerns a future outbreak of civil strife in a downtrodden U.S. economy:

Once the urban poor stop getting government assistance- in particular, food stamps- the ensuing rioting and violence will first consume the city and then spill out into the “wealthy” suburbs.

After reading the following piece by Vikki Ortiz Healy and Matthew Walberg on the Chicago Tribune website earlier this morning, I’ve been wondering if this scenario- if it ever takes place- might not be backwards. Ortiz Healy and Walberg wrote:

Once considered the definition of the middle-class American dream, the suburbs are now home to a larger, faster-growing poor population than urban areas, according to a new analysis.

During the 2000s, the number of poor living in U.S. suburbs grew by 64 percent — more than twice the 29 percent growth rate in cities.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

This rapid growth in the number of poor living in the suburbs is evident in the Chicagoland area. Ortiz Healy and Walberg added:

The shifting poverty demographic can be seen in Chicago’s suburbs, where the number of poor increased by 99 percent in the last decade — from 363,966 to 724,233, said Elizabeth Kneebone, co-author of “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.”

That was a greater increase than recorded in the New York City or Los Angeles regions, according to the book.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Now, if you’ve never encountered a fictitious scenario where the urban poor riot after seeing their government benefits cut off, I suggest you read “Bracken: When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence” on the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog here. Incredibly thought-provoking stuff.

Still, perhaps U.S. metropolitan areas of the future will resemble other countries where wealth is concentrated in the city center and poverty is forced out into the periphery- including the suburbs.

And should a major crisis emerge in this type of setup where government assistance is cut off, it’s possible that civil strife will work its way towards the center, rather than away from it.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Ortiz Healy, Vikki and Walberg, Matt. “More poor in U.S. suburbs than cities, report says.” Chicago Tribune. 21 May 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-poverty-report-20130521,0,6518088.story). 21 May 2013.

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Scuttlebutt: Less Cops, More Crime These Days In Chicago Police Department’s 16th District

Sorry for the lack of new material on Survival And Prosperity last week. That family member in the hospital and my move out to the suburbs at the end of May isn’t leaving me with a whole lot of extra time to blog these days.

I’ve managed to read the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop a little bit during the chaos, and based on some comments attached to an April 21 post, it sounds like I’ve picked a pretty good time to depart this Northwest Side neighborhood located on the north end of the Chicago Police Department’s 16th District. From SCC:

Anonymous said…

What is going on in 016? Seems there are never police patrolling the north end of the district. Response time is slow if at all. Meanwhile, crime is rising (especially theft from autos). One neighbor is so frustrated because his spare tire was stolen in front of his house 3 times in the past year, he refuses to put another spare on his vehicle. And he is not alone. Many more thefts and garage burglaries on midnights. If everyone in my neighborhood actually reported every theft, 016 crime stats would be way up. The commander is lucky he does not have to answer to this at next meeting with the Sup.

4/21/2013 08:30:00 PM

In gmac’s theory, they can steal your spare tire 100x as long as nobody gets shot you aren’t getting any more police officers. To downtown, that’s property crime and that’s what you have insurance for.

The midnights is so short that if the WC gives only 2 off he has to down a beat car. The Commander and the ones before him ask for more bodies every month but never get them. When they do open up bids 016 gets medical roll a users and coppers who are stuck in neutral marking time until they retire. And that’s no help

4/22/2013 09:35:00 AM

Based on the above, it doesn’t sound like the cavalry will be coming anytime soon to this “suburb in the city.”

Time to hoist some “Open Neighborhood” banners before a healthy portion of Chicagoland’s estimated 150,000-plus gangbangers and other assorted riff-raff arrive en masse…

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

SCC. “NRA Lambasts Chicago.” Second City Cop. 21 Apr. 2013. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2013/04/nra-lambasts-chicago.html). 29 Apr. 2013.

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Monday, April 29th, 2013 Crime, Public Safety, Security, Self-Defense No Comments


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