The FAST Cars & FURIOUS Neighbors of Downtown Chicago

The FAST Cars & FURIOUS Neighbors of Downtown Chicago

Lately, Chicago police officers have discovered a different kind of donut being made after hours on the streets of downtown. Many young people are hosting pop-up gatherings where they spin their cars in the middle of an intersection (making the donut shape) and throw fireworks at the police. For the past month, it’s been an issue and residents of those neighborhoods are getting fed up. According to recent media coverage, it appears to be a state of emergency. Yet, news reports haven’t made it clear about how to stop these gatherings. In my opinion, it comes down to which factors influence this behavior the most.

Life Imitates Art

Drag racing and late-night motorcycle clubs are not new to Chicago. In fact, they tend to be in the city’s impoverished areas (including Greater Grand Crossing on the South Side). However, police tend to be a bit aggressive in low-income areas. Therefore, the “Fast and Furious” youngsters tend to take their business to downtown Chicago. They appear to be mimicking what they’ve seen on TV and film–to the chagrin of neighbors who just want a peaceful night’s sleep. (You can’t blame them when most of them are paying $2,000 to $3,000/ month for cramped apartments or upper 6-figures for overpriced condos.)

For the affluent residents of the South and West Loop, these car clubs are only a nuisance when “Average Joes” put them together. When the Illinois Film Office allows Hollywood to close down streets to do the same, there isn’t much of a stir. We’ve had Batman and Transformer movies make the same noise for longer periods of time. There wasn’t a stir about it; some people didn’t like the noise, but most thought it was cool. At this point, it feels as if these car club kids need to find a way to compromise with the city. If you push them from one neighborhood, they’ll just move their gatherings to the next area.

From Clickbait to Collaborations

Chicago journalists need to focus more on solutions than just the problem. We don’t want this to continue as a routine news item. Real news is centered around hope. If all reporters do is alarm the public, the problem is not going to go away. Journalists could do investigating to find out who is organizing these gatherings. From there, they can help present ways to allow people to enjoy our downtown areas without causing much of a ruckus.

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