Can the Chicago Tribune’s “Problem Solver” Help Find a Killer?

December 15

The Tribune’s Problem Solver works for individuals. It addresses mundane, day-to-day problems. Well here’s a problem that’s become day-to-day for all too many Chicagoans. So let’s put the Trib’s Problem Solver to a little test. Several weeks ago, a close friend of one of my students at Oakton Community College was shot dead in a drive-by incident in Humboldt Park.  The incident went unreported in Chicago news media.  But my student is writing a paper about it.  One point he makes: the identity of shooter is known to a number of people in the neighborho0d. On Google maps, my student showed me exactly where the killer lives. Yet no one dares pass information on to Chicago police for fear of retaliation and out of mistrust in the Chicago police.  So – will the Tribune Problem Solver help my student resolve the problem? Let’s find out! We just submitted the following:

A friend of mine lost a close friend in a drive-by shooting several weeks ago in Humboldt Park.  I can provide documentation. The name of the shooter is known to people in the neighborhood, he says, but pe0ple are afraid to talk to police for fear of retaliation.  Can he safely share this information with police? How?

BTW, today’s Tribune has a story on the code of silence – the anti-snitch mentality – that exists when it comes to reporting crimes to the Chicago police.  Huge questions of fear and trust.

BTW, in my Oakton class, a total of four of out fifteen students have written about the death of friends they’ve lost lost in the past six months: a suicide, two car accidents and now this drive-by. It ain’t easy being young in Chicago – or its suburbs!

December 24

Here’s an automated response to an inquiry about the status of the problem we raised on December 15:

Thank you for writing to What’s Your Problem. All e-mails are read and reviewed by the Problem Solver. Due to the volume of e-mails and letters received, we cannot respond to each inquiry individually. If we choose to write about your problem, we will be in contact with you shortly.


Jon Yates,

Tribune staff reporter.

Why,  you ask,  doesn’t my Oakton student call the Chicago police to report what he knows? Answer: trust in the Chicago police is not high in Humboldt Park. To counter this, Chicago Police Department Jody _). Weis has created the “ClearPath” website, which opens new channels of communication between Chicagoans and the CPD, with an option for anonymity.  I’ve asked my student to take a look at it and its e-tip feature, which allows citizens to give full details about a crime while making use of a “privacy information option” that offers anonymity. Let’s see what he says.

Happy Holidays!

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