McKinley Park Graffiti Tagging Spreads to The Bean, Maggie Daley Park

Published July 2, 2019

Media reports show that seven people are in custody after a graffiti spree that hit the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park (aka "the Bean") and the cancer survivors wall in Maggie Daley Park. The graffiti is identical to much of that which has been a scourge of the McKinley Park neighborhood, with a 35th Street reference and similar paint and style.

As publicly discussed at past meetings of Beat 912 of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), the "35th" graffiti pattern is seemingly related to a progression of graffitos who move from the local tagging crew to a recruiting-level gang group with similar messaging and iconography and then to the Latin Counts, a violent gang entrenched in the neighborhood which continually blankets the neighborhood with its gang-specific graffiti.

The "35th" graffiti originates from a group based in McKinley Park that has been tagging this iconography for at least several years. According to statements at CAPS meetings, this is or was likely a "party crew" of taggers comprised of young people, some of whom attended Thomas Kelly High School.

A handful of years ago, a new graffiti pattern appeared employing Roman numerals to represent 35th: It displays "III-V" and regularly also includes Latin Counts and gang-specific iconography. Sometimes, this group represents themselves as the "Three Fives" in graffiti.

The Latin Counts graffiti is widespread and regularly defaces properties across the neighborhood, with 12th Ward and city crews dispatched sometimes daily for removal of the previous night's gang graffiti.

Individuals at past CAPS meetings have conjectured that the "Three Fives" are akin to a farm team for the Latin Counts, who are trying to recruit new gang members, including young students who attend nearby schools in the McKinley Park neighborhood.

This is a developing story, and the McKinley Park News will publish updates as they occur.

Click here to read the Chicago Sun-Times coverage of the the downtown graffiti incidents at The Bean and Maggie Daley Park.

The next CAPS Meeting for Beat 912 is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at St. Maurice Church hall.

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