Almighty Latin Kings in the Albany Park Area
By: Kevin Vaseghi
Many neighborhoods around Chicago suffer from criminal activity, and Albany Park is no exception.
It is safe to assume that most people living in this city have heard about, or even had experience with gang activity. The Latin Kings were formed in the 1920s in New York City by Puerto Rican immigrants, but quickly spread across the nation. The main leader back then was known as “Papa Santos”.
According to chicagogangs.org they have 25,000+ members. Just a few miles from North Park, Division & Spaulding, is known as their “Motherland”. The Chicago Police Department has also spotted Latin King members even closer to North Park College.
There was an incident last year close to the campus in which a North Park student and his girlfriend were walking back to their apartment after a night out, and a handful of members of the Latin Kings (according to one of the students) started walking towards them. The male student’s first thought was to protect his girlfriend, so he stood in front of her to try to protect her. Suddenly, he felt a hard blow to the side of the head.
After the blow, the attackers ran away, and the victim saw a glass bottle tossed away by one of them. The student was said he was lucky they did not do more.
On September 13, the Sun-Times reported that over 40 members of the Latin Kings were arrested and face narcotics charges for their alleged roles in drug trafficking involving huge amounts of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Of those arrested, 17 face state charges in Cook and Will counties.
To show their presence, members of the gang will do something known as “tagging”. This means that they will use spray paint to mark their territory. On Everyblock, people have reported places where they have spotted Latin Kings logos. Last month they reported seeing “tags” on their garage doors, liquor stores, dumpsters, and other places. The users were encouraging each other to report them to Graffiti Busters to get them removed.