A Sun-Times map of Chicago communities where law enforcement workers are concentrated. Galewood, a neighborhood in Austin, has among the highest concentrations of such workers in Chicago.

A recent Chicago Sun-Times/Homicide Watch Chicago analysis highlights four places among the city’s 77 officially recognized communities that have not experienced a single murder in three years: Edison Park, Forest Glen, North Park and Mount Greenwood. The results of the analysis were published in the June 28 Chicago Sun-Times paper.

The reason for the dearth of murders in those areas? A relative absence of gang problems, a high concentration of people with “a sense of ownership in the community and a large number of police officers and firefighters living down the block,” crime experts and residents of those areas told the Sun-Times.

“There is a lot of military people, veterans, police offiers, firefighters,” one resident of Mount Greenwood told the paper. “All the city workers pretty much live in this area.”

As opposed to high-crime areas “like Austin,” the article notes, where “networks of people who solve their conflicts with guns” are concentrated. Areas “like Austin” are where “a third of the men” who live there “wind up with felony convictions” and, as a result, live lives mired in “a self-perpetuating cylce of poverty and violence that isn’t present in the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.”

But, if the Sun-Times’ map of murders that have occurred in the city between May 2012 and May 2015 is any indication, those expert assessments don’t apply to Austin’s northeastern most outpost of Galewood — which, like Edison Park, Forest Glen, North Park and Mount Greenwood, is also bereft of a single dot indicating a murder.

And like those four spotless communities, Galewood has among the highest concentrations of law enforcement workers in the city.

For visual clarity, Galewood is that corner of Austin that juts out from the largely rectangular consistency of the city’s most populous geographic area like the stunted handle on an overlarge butcher knife. Its abutted by the leafy suburbs of Elmwood Park, Oak Park and River Forest to the west and south; and by the almost-dot-free Montclare neighborhood to the north. 

Galewood is in Austin, but not of it if a 2010 Chicago Tribune article is to be taken at face value. 

“This is a place where old-fashioned values of hard work, thrift, loyalty and friendliness have never fallen from fashion,” notes the article, which never mentions the larger Austin community that encompasses Galewood.

Nick Sposato, before he was 38th Ward alderman, is quoted in the Tribune article talking about the kind of residents who live in Galewood.

“A lot of city workers, police and firemen and teachers, live in this community,” Sposato told the paper. “I feel it’s a safe community. People know each other and look out for each other.”

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