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What Ails You, Humboldt?

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The West Side will live under the lens for several weeks as The Reader rolls out a series of stories on the local drug trade. Up first: West Humboldt Park, an area covered by two police beats, each consistently in the top 10 citywide in narcotics arrests. Not surprisingly, it's also one of the most violent communities— there were at least 17 murders year. The violence comes in spurts— at one point years ago Humboldt was even dubbed 'the most dangerous neighborhood in nation'. The Reader's investigation looks to rebuke mayoral claims that grassroots community action is the missing piece of the puzzle in demonstrating a strong mobilization going back decades. The article also delves into the racial destabilization of the 60s and 70s that encouraged gangs to set up shop. An established nexus of drug dealing, gang warfare, and politicking, what will it really take to repair West Humboldt? How about a little economic empowerment? [The Reader, image: Eliezer Appleton via Flickr]