12th Ward Chief of Staff Samie Martinez, left, speaks with landlord Julio Zamudio on October 1 as social services and police personnel await the start of the eviction.

Eviction Drives Alleged Gang Members from Troubled McKinley Park House

Published October 5, 2018

Alleged gang members were cleared out of an illegal basement apartment at 3629 S. Wood St. on Monday, October 1, as part of an official eviction process shepherded by the 12th Ward office. The culmination of many months of work, the eviction brought 12th Ward representatives, police, social services personnel and property owner Julio Zamudio together to remove tenants and their belongings from the basement apartment, and to board up the unit.

The eviction comes after the 12th Ward and the City of Chicago took Zamudio to court to compel him to address problems at the property, which the 12th Ward had requested the city officially designate as a troubled building. 12th Ward Chief of Staff Samie Martinez said the property had been associated with numerous local gang crime problems, including shootings, gang graffiti and attacks on civic infrastructure such as cutting power to the street lights for the entire block.

Zamudio had been a no-show at several initial court proceedings, Martinez said, but he was finally compelled to allow City of Chicago building inspectors access to the property on May 11, 2018, when they found the apartment did not conform to code and tenancy requirements. Police officers on the scene of the eviction noted that the tenants, who had not moved out, had received notice of the eviction at least a month in advance.

Martinez said this action is one of several the 12th Ward has been taking to fight gangs embedded on Wood Street. He noted that the property at 3820 S. Wood St. had been cleared of problematic tenants, and he pointed to 3659 S. Wood St. as the next property to be targeted because of the alleged gang activity associated with it. Indeed, Martinez pointed out how one of the evicted alleged gang members left 3629 S. Wood St. during the eviction, then walked down the block to enter the property at 3659 S. Wood St.

The best way for a landlord to act responsibly and not rent to gang members is to follow the basics, Martinez said. This includes having a written lease, conducting a credit check and asking for (and checking on) past rental history. He said any local landlord can call the 12th Ward office for assistance with qualifying tenants.

Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) Beat 912 Facilitator Glenn Young, who was on-hand at the eviction as part of the 12th Ward team, said the Chicago Police Department also offers landlord training through its 9th District office in the Bridgeport neighborhood.

Martinez noted that all of the evicted tenants are officially barred from the property. "If they come back, call police," he said.

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