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Molly Born/MEDILL

A woman approaches a business along Broadway Street in the outskirts of Chicago's 48th Ward. The store displays signs for aldermanic candidates in that ward and from players in the nearby 46th Ward.

'Nefarious' activities in 46th alarm neighboring ward

by Molly_Born
Jan 18, 2011

When Ric Addy walks out of his shop on Broadway Street, he’s between two wards and, some residents say, two worlds.

Near Addy’s music and bookstore, signs for aldermanic candidates surface on store windows. Where his shop sits on the outskirts of the 48th Ward, it’s not just the five campaigning here. Players in the 46th elections are making a presence, too, knowing decisions they make will affect their neighboring ward.

Although both will welcome new leadership this year – Alds. Mary Ann Smith (48th) and Helen Shiller (46th) will retire after long tenures in office – the wards have little in common in some residents’ eyes.

Addy has managed Shake, Rattle and Read for 25 years. He said there are “life-or-death situations” in Uptown that aren’t big problems just north of him in the 48th – specifically crime, which has plagued areas like the Wilson el station.

“It’s dangerous anytime,” Addy said of the Wilson stop. “I think it’s worse than a toilet.”

After a five-month long investigation, police busted an Uptown drug ring Friday, and arrested five men who authorities have linked to other violent crimes near Magnolia and Wilson avenues, according to local reports. The $500,000-per-year operation also took a murder suspect off the street.

This is especially good news for Michael Carroll, aldermanic candidate in the 46th Ward.

The Chicago police officer said crime is up in the 20th District. Carroll said keeping the streets safe and watching business prosper in the neighboring ward is important to him.

While going block-by-block to fight crime is the answer, the ward will need more resources to do it, he said.

“We just have to bite the bullet and hire more police,” Carroll said.

With its proximity to Uptown, businesses like Addy’s draw customers from that ward. Addy said when Borders moved in a block away, it actually helped business because people felt safer walking around shopping.

And while he’s hoping the 46th Ward alderman will make safety a priority, he said his neighbors are a good place to start.

“We’re kind of all looking out for each other anyway,” Addy said.

Greg Silva works with recovering addicts in Uptown but is familiar with the 48th Ward. He noted the dichotomy between the wards and said he feels less safe in the 46th.

“It’s quaint and beautiful in Andersonville,” Silva said of the 48th Ward. “But there’s always something nefarious on the outskirts.”