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Byron Avenue on the north, Army Trail Boulevard on the south, Addison Road on the east, Mill Road on the west
The suburb of Addison is indeed a community with a very diverse income class population. If you travel through this community you will find high income lavish upper middle class to upper class houses placed within brand spanking new subdivisions, or you can find older more modest houses that are accompanied by the lower middle class and the working class population. Then you have the renting population that resides in the many apartment complexes within the suburb; in which you will find high class luxury apartments and condos then you will find older more modest apartments that are often section 8 friendly. Over the years Addison has had a bad reputation which has caused many people to think twice before renting or purchasing houses in the suburb, but it is foolish to completely discriminate against the entire community because of one troubled area. People that have lived in Addison their whole lives will tell you that there is one particular area to watch out for in this community, but the majority of the town is a safe and clean community. In this chapter we will look into the history of Addison street gangs and look into which areas they past and presently still dwell within.
The area now known today as Addison was first settled by Hezekiah Dunklee and Mason Smith who both came from the east coast to settle these lands on September 3rd 1833. The men settled near Salt Creek which is located in the center of Addison which is also the earliest settlement in the village. Soon after the two men arrived, other German families came and settled the area until the settlement became known as Dunklee’s Grove in 1839. In the year 1884 the village of Addison was officially incorporated.
In the 1950s, Addison was subdivided and many new houses were built in each subdivision that included Green Meadows Estates that began construction in 1955 and would continue until 1969. Spinning off from Green Meadows Estates came several apartments that were built in the area that began construction in 1962 that included the notorious apartments on Michael Lane (pictured below) that were built up until 1964. Beginning in 1964 through 1969 the notorious apartments on Green Oaks Court (pictured below) were built, and now Addison had brand new rental property for younger couples that were only looking to rent. By the 1980s many lower income Latino families moved into these apartment buildings.
In the year 1986, the Village of Addison soon faced issues with graffiti in the Green Meadows area. When the graffiti was first painted on the side of the buildings the police and the village had no idea what any of it meant but there was a lot of it to clean up, little did they know the graffiti was put there mostly by Latin King gang members and maybe even the Latin Counts. The Latin Kings were the first gang to open up territory in Addison in 1986 and sometime around then the Latin Counts from the suburb of Cicero recruited in the suburb; however, these two gangs were both allies under the People Nation alliance so there were no turf wars initially. The graffiti issue was slowed down significantly after the 1986 outburst but it soon returned with a vengeance in 1988 in the Green Meadows area, this time police and town officials identified it as gang graffiti. When the village would clean the tags up, fresh tags were put right over the area within days. Despite all this graffiti the police did not see any real gang problem and public officials were basically in denial. In a June 22nd article with the Chicago Tribune Addison building administrator John Black stated that he believed only one person was doing all the graffiti, talk about denial, it was foolish for Black to say only one guy was doing all that graffiti, but at the time the Addison gangs were not as strong yet but were greatly building their numbers and the element was coming straight from Chicago or Cicero. Residents were complaining that gangs were moving in and reported seeing older hardcore members coming in from the city in 1988, but public officials and police were quick to quash those fears making it seem like gangs were not a big deal. The best action the Addison P.D. did was step up patrols to put down graffiti artists in that summer of 1988 and creating a gang crimes task force which only included two officers in plain clothes that began in 1987 (Chicago Tribune, Timothy Bryers, June 22, 1988).
By the year 1989, the Addison police department stepped up their game by holding monthly gang intelligence-sharing meetings, and the principle at Addison Trail High School began cracking down on gang activity by handing out stronger disciplinary action for gang activity in school (Chicago Tribune, Neil Mehler, October 17, 1989). It was necessary for the police and public officials to step up their anti-gang activity because Latin Kings and Latin Counts were growing stronger as new gangs were moving into the community from Chicago by 1989 such as the Insane Deuces, Los Bebe Stones, Gangster Disciples, Conservative Vice Lords and Gaylords as they all recruited neighborhood youths.
In 1990, gang violence was increasing and membership was growing rapidly which caused the Addison police department to be quite busy in their fight against the gangs. In order to help fight the gangs Addison public officials allowed an anti-gang policy that would permit temporary detaining of any person wearing known gang colors, emblems or other gang insignia, flashing gang signs and if the officers have probable cause that the person is about to commit a crime or has already committed a crime. The policy also allows the police to search gang members for weapons during detainment if they feel threatened. This policy came about because residents were complaining about not feeling safe to walk the streets anymore due to an abundance of gang activity. By the end of the summer in 1990 the Addison police had already taken down some key leaders of the Latin Kings and Latin Counts who were starting to have feuds and were on the brink of war (Chicago Tribune, Annemarie Mannion, September 13, 1990).
The gang problems in Addison continued to escalate in the early 1990s in the village, but luckily there were no reported homicides that happened in the suburb until June 17th 1994 when a major gang dispute was going on in the Green Oaks Court apartments when shooting began, no gang members were injured in the incident only 20 year old Teresa Venegas who was shot and killed as she sat on her porch holding her baby. The murder was pinned on 15 year old Javier Ureste as he was dealt a hefty sentence. This murder was the first gang related homicide in Addison’s history but surely would not be the last (Chicago Tribune, Tom Pelton, February 18, 1995). Earlier that year Addison police busted in on a major drug conspiracy operation in the Swifton Common Apartments (pictured) on College Road right near the Interstate 355 expressway. 17 grown men and women in their 20s and 30s were taken down including one 13 year old girl they had selling crack cocaine for them. The bust came after residents complained of several young men hanging out in doorways all the time and people constantly were coming in and out of the building, when police arrived they discovered a crack den (Chicago Tribune, Andrew Gottesman, February 18, 1994).
As the 1990s progressed, law enforcement became increasingly tough on gangs and drug trafficking in the mostly quite suburb; however, gangs fought back and continued to grow but eventually the police obtained a tight grip on the neighborhood. The shooting death in 1994 and the take down of the major crack cocaine ring prompted Addison police to get tougher, despite efforts Addison would keep a bad reputation.
The historically troubled area of Addison is Byron Avenue on the north, Army Trail Boulevard on the south, Addison Road on the east and Mill Road on the west; however, most people do not know that only this small vicinity is the troubled spot. Michael Lane was the center of the gang activity and the most feared street in the suburb; it was mostly ruled by the Latin Counts street gang. Now the borders of this area have shifted in recent years to Lake Street on the north, Army Trail Blvd on the south, Addison Road on the east and Pioneer Road on the west. Another section that has tended to have higher crime is Fullerton Ave on the north down to Addison Road then to Lorraine Ave on the north, North Ave on the south, Route 83 on the east and Rohlwing Road on the west.