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Chicago's quiet tourism problem: Land sharks

The Magnificent Mile sometimes called the Mag Mile is Chicago's premier shopping and tourism center. With stores rivaling Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and Fifth Avenue in New York City, it is the destination for world shoppers. It's a place where if you are from out-of-town, you go for the premium stores, the highly-acclaimed restaurants and the first-class hotels that provide the full impact and ambiance of Chicago, a world-class city.

You can go up to the 95th floor at the John Hancock Center to get a panoramic view of the city and Lake Michigan while having a drink and dinner. After that, come back down to shop.

From buying expensive baubles at Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus to buying a Bentley convertible that rivals Paris Hilton's at Bentley Gold Coast, you cannot find a better selection and diversity of top shops in the Midwest for satisfying expensive tastes.

That may be the politically correct, positive promotional pitch for Chicago, but let's look at what is actually happening from a “politically accurate” point of view.

There is an increase in problems at night with small gangs roaming around looking for the right prey.

Don't bother looking for any cops, they are far and few between. Little perfume-size pepper spray canisters may be in vogue, politically correct and fit in a purse, but they are not practical. Forget about pepper spray, you'd need a gallon jug of it to stop five or six assailants.

Do you now need a .357 Magnum to walk down the Mag Mile? Maybe a compact .45 or a high-capacity 9MM “just to be on the safe side” is more what you should have. Even the police are telling each other that they better “carry large caliber” off-duty and not be caught unarmed.

Incidences of “wilding” have increased and people have talked about it on the controversial unofficial blog of the Chicago Police Department, (see More Wildings) .

Last week Friday, I actually witnessed this when I came down to the John Hancock Center to watch the Blue Angels practice in the late afternoon for the weekend's Air Show and then to a dinner cruise on one of the big boats at Navy Pier.

Coming back to the John Hancock to pick up my car at around 9PM, I noticed several little bands of four to five juveniles walking around sizing up people as they walked down the streets. Luckily we were already in our car, but I could sense that these “gangsta wannabes” were up to no good.

There were some arrests made that night but very suspicious that there was no mention in the mainstream media. There have been incidences like this before but never a mention or a caution. Why? Afraid to report on the truth or were you told not to report on the truth? In either case...


Chicago's media leaves something to be desired when it comes to shining the spotlight on issues like this. It is like Amity Island, the town in the movie Jaws not wanting to reveal that they had a killer shark off the beach because it might kill the season's tourism and town revenues.

Well, the shark-infested area in Chicago is not its Lake Michigan beaches, but the shopping area on and around North Michigan Avenue. Land sharks!

One of my readers, who reads drafts of my columns had this to say:

Succinctly spoken , The city is no longer safe anymore. I think Richard (Mayor Daley) should go out in the evening without his hit squad protecting him with the firearms he professes to hate so much.

That would be six more highly-paid police officers who could patrol the downtown streets that you and I walk down - unarmed.

With its highest big-city sales tax and $30- $50 parking out-of-sight, Chicago better quickly see the light. Watch out for these little predators if you even dare to go down at night. That's when they get into a frenzy to feed, rob and fight.

Want me to come down again and spend money? Forget the Asian carp and clean up the streets of land sharks.

CARLINI-ISM: In order to be world-class, elegant venues with ambiance cannot be diminished or blemished by crime.

Recent columns by James Carlini

James Carlini a featured editorial contributor for Wisconsin Technology News.

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Copyright 2010 - James Carlini
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.


N.P. responded 4 years ago: #1

Dear Mr. Carlini:

Thanks for writing this article that exposes what is going on. I am a police officer in Chicago and what is happening to the city that I love is very disheartening and very upsetting to me.

Yes, these wildings do occur and no mention is made of it in the mainstream media. They also occurred last year and no mention in the media.

I fear that it will only get worse. I hope not, but that is my fear.

NorthSide responded 4 years ago: #2

This most politically corrupt of major U.S. cities needs forthcoming journalists of Mr. Carlini's caliber. Local media is essentially the propaganda wing of "da Mare". "Political correctness" is insidious. Jim Carlini tells it like it is.

We also salute him on the unauthorized blog site of "Chicago's Finest":

JAMES CARLINI responded 4 years ago: #3

Thank you both for your feedback. We need to put a spotlight on problems and the only way to do that is to be politically accurate instead of politically correct.

Those who think we have no problems at the local, state and even federal levels are not paying attention or don't want to pay attention.

DS responded 4 years ago: #4

Thank you for daring to call it like you see it, Mr. Carlini.

I am not sure which would be worse: death/maiming at the hands of brazen criminals or, if I get caught for protecting myself, a few nights in Cook County jail and overzealous prosecution by a rabidly anti-gun Chicago machine.

MJ responded 4 years ago: #5

Thanks for posting this so that all the lies about crime being down can be exposed. I'm a CPD officer who has onviewed the wilding downtown. While out having dinner with the family on two separate occasions I've observed a large crowds just fighting. A few running away which tells me that they may be the actual offenders of a crime and the rest act as shields blocking as they make good their escape. It appears that this has become the norm which keeps me and my family from making trips into downtown. I wish everyone the best of luck when they decide to venture downtown for what use to be a good time!

Andy responded 4 years ago: #6

"I could sense that these “gangsta wannabes” were up to no good. "

You saw nothing, but are merely reporting a "sense"
So what did you see- let me guess they were young, black men, dressed like they were young and black?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater responded 2 years ago: #7

This sort of thing is clearly impossible in Chicago. I mean, you don't allow people to have handguns, so how could there possibly be gun-related crime? It's as if criminals are breaking the law! That's preposterous!

James Carlini responded 2 years ago: #8

Just remember - you read it here first. LONG before the slanted mainstream media acknowledged the problem.

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