Today was the day four years ago that I started this blog. I started it on November 23rd, 2008. It was at 4:30 in the afternoon. At the time, I was trying to figure out what kind of layout I should use for the blog, but more importantly, what kind of information to put up here. So I started the blog, and at the time, I chose only to live-police scan 25, and put Chicago Journal articles up from 14. There was no coverage of 17 whatsoever planned. But in the next few weeks, I realize 14 and 17 also needed the live scanned action. So, then, I decided to blog those two districts only once a month (which an exception applies, now for 17 in the summer. I used to monitor 14 twice a month in the summer).
This blog grew, and continues to grow. More and more people looked at this blog daily, and within the next few months, I had about 200 daily readers. And back then, people made comments so useful, and respectful towards each other. These comments benefited the comment. Nowadays, there aren't many comments at all, but one can hope it goes back to the way it was. The good thing is that there are still plenty of readers, even if they've became slient.
Then came June of 2009, which was a very bad month for my family and I. At the time, the economy sinked so low that it threatened to cut our internet off completey. After all of you read that, you volunteered to help continue the blog. A week later, I switched to Windy City, for the summer. I got a lot of more readers when I made that switch. And my blogging was almost non-stop that summer. If you never caught on my purpose, I switched over in case I needed more readers to help me fund my internet to continue the blog.
In August 2009, I had an interview with Time Out Chicago magazine. That was my very first interview with the media. I felt great about being interviewed, and that also gained me some more readers. More importantly, it told people about me, and why I do what I do. Then, a month later, I switched my blog back to Blogger, and have been here ever since. I remember a lot of you were so happy when I came back to Blogger, so that made me happy, too. I've had a couple of notable interviews in the last few years, particularly this past summer with Northwestern University student Kirstin Fawcett.
My family and I had a pretty good year in 2010, but then major financial troubles came again in the summer of 2011, and although it has gotten somewhat better, our financial troubles still continue. I'm just thankful that we are able to have end's meet to pay our bills and that we're able to keep our Internet on. I'm thankful that I'm still able to run the blog, despite the financial threats we've faced so many times. I don't know how we're able to keep paying our bills and what not, but so far, we have, and that is a blessing.
2012 has certainly been an interesting year for this blog. It seems as if I lost quite a few readers, and comments, but readership is still up in numbers when I look at the statistics. It also seems as if a LOT of blocks in our community have drastically improved, particularly in 25. 14 has been on a steadily crime-dropping rate in my eyes since the latter half of 2011, but I've noticed a big change in 25 on most of the blocks here. In particular, there were a lot of problems on Beat 2523 that we were dealing with, and the height of the problems reached its peak during July of this year, as you all might remember, with all of the gang problems and shootings we were having. The block that was hit hardest by this was the 2900 block of Ridgeway. But then we as a community, and I'm proud to say I helped lead the community during this time, put together a few anti-violence events and attended our CAPS meeting that month in droves, and I believe those efforts helped make a big change. Yes, we still do have a few problem areas in this part of 25, but things have gotten a lot better than they used to be.
2012 has also been one of the most interesting years of my life. As you all know, I graduated high school in June and started college in August. The year has been a roller-coaster for me personally. It was great in certain aspects, such as leaving high school behind, but then college has knocked me down a few times. Factored with some other personal things I've been through, it's been quite a challenge. But I'm proud to say I'm just about done with my first semester of college with really good grades in both of my classes, and as everyday goes on, I'm starting to feel better about myself.
This blog has been through so much in the last few years, and a lot of it was for the good. Four years later, I feel as if I, along with all of your great help, have made a change in our community for the better. When I first started this blog in 2008, I honestly thought that things would never improve in our community. My mother at the time really insisted that we move out of the area (she still does to a degree), but my sister and I didn't want to leave our community that we've lived in our entire lives, and I decided that there had to be a way to improve our community. I don't know what it was, but something just kept telling me not to give up. And then I got involved with the community directly, but that really wasn't because I wanted to at first, to be honest. I attended my first CAPS Beat meeting as part of an assignment in my Journalsim class in my sophomore year of high school, but I liked the meeting so much that I went to the next, and the one after that, and so on. After that first meeting, I felt like it was my duty to help make the community better. Several months later, the Avondale Neighborhood Association was formed by several members of our CAPS group, and I'm proud to say that I am still a member of both CAPS and the ANA. This blog has touched lives of many people, and has benefited them. It has benefited the Chicago Police because they get more information on certain crimes by reading this blog (believe me, guys, I've got cops reading this blog). It has benefited you, the reader, because of that, too, but also because you have spread the word and have gotten more people to read this blog. Lastly, it has benefited me. Doing this blog has benefited me because I've established many relationships which I thought were never possible. I have a mostly good relationship with the CPD and my alderman because of the blog, and I've met SO many good people from doing this blog.
So, to wrap this up, I would just like to give a special thank you to EVERYONE who reads this blog. Thank you so much for all of your support over these last four years. In particular, I owe a really special "thank you" to Craig Gernhardt, the author of "The Broken Heart of Rogers Park" blog (who was my #1 inspiration to starting this blog), my mom (I love you so much!!!), Brad Flora from Windy Citizen for letting me host my blog on his site in the summer of 2009, the 25th District, the ANA and Maggie (AKA ProdigalOne). Thanks to these people, I've gotten this blog to where it is today. I also owe a special thank you to the people who have read this blog since I first started it. You are my most loyal and faithful readers. I have a ton of other people to thank, but I would be here all day thanking all of you. So, I'll just say it again: thank you SO MUCH for all of your help and encouragement over the last four years. You don't know how much it means to me, and thanks to all of you, I will be forever grateful for everything all of you who've helped me along the way. Yes, our community still does have crime and violence, but as I always say, it takes determination to rid of it, and I feel at least most of you are determined to help me fight this battle. Together, we can change our communities and so much more!
I will continue to provide this service to our community. I hope this blog lasts for many, many years, even if I don't run it anymore someday down the road. Thank you for everything, everyone! I appreciate it so much, and to no end! Much love to all, and Happy Holidays.
Tim (AKA Timmy)