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29th Street to Home Avenue on the north, Ogden Avenue on the south, Gunderson Avenue on the east, Harlem Avenue on the west. Second is 18th Street on the north, Cermak Road on the south, Ridgeland Avenue on the east, Kenilworth Avenue on the west
Berwyn indeed is one Cook county suburb often thought of to be just as violent and dangerous as Cicero. If you talk to many people in Chicagoland about this suburb you may be told to steer clear and that Berwyn is downright dangerous. Granted, Berwyn has had some craziness over the years and is one of the first Chicago suburbs to experience gang activity, hence, why I have dedicated a section to this suburb, but it has never been nearly as rough as Cicero or Chicago has ever been.
In the year 1846, Theodore Doty became the first resident of the area as he settled along present day Ogden Ave. Then in 1856 Thomas F. Baldwin purchased a large tract of land near present day Ogden Ave, to create a community he wanted to call LaVergne. LaVergne did not go successfully since the land was mostly swampy and marshy. It was not until Baldwin’s daughter sold the land to Marshall Field in 1879 that houses began to be built.
In the year 1890, Charles E. Piper and Wilbur J. Andrews purchased more land and eventually developed the area more and ended up naming the new community Berwyn, which was named after a beautiful subdivision in Philadelphia, PA. In the year 1908 Berwyn was officially incorporated and from there the north side and south side of the town developed more, but the central area did not develop until the 1920s.
The gangbanging in Berwyn began very early in history and coincided with the startup year if Cicero greaser clubs. This debut year was 1952. I can’t really name any of these early gangs but I can say that according to the Berwyn local newspaper they were experiencing problems with teenage gang fights for a year by 1953. Berwyn youths were even mixing it up with greaser groups from other suburbs and from the city.
Greaser gang fighting happened all throughout the 1950s and 1960s in this suburb as some of the meanest and toughest suburban gangs would dwell on these streets. Gangs came and went but no Berwyn made gang ever stuck. Berywn did not begin to see more permanent gangs until the 1970s when Cicero based gangs arrived here by I believe the mid-1970s when Noble Knights and Twelfth Street Players settled in this community.
I’m not positive exactly when Chicago based gangs began in Berwyn but in Cicero they began in 1979 and 1980 when Latin Kings, Two Two Boys and Two Six arrived. I’m not sure if Two Six and Two Two Boys settled Cicero right in the early 80s but I believe the Latin Kings came here in the early 80s.
By the late 1980s, more Chicago gangs developed here primarily on the north side of the suburb just north of Cermak Road to Roosevelt Road. This part of Berwyn directly borders the notorious Parkholme section of Cicero which was one of the first areas to be heavily populated by gang activity, now those gangs were crossing over Lombard Ave into Berwyn. Satan Disciples, Two Six, Noble Knights, Twelfth Street Players, Bishops and Latin Counts all spilled over from Cicero and took territory in Berwyn as they fought viciously with Latin Kings and Two Two Boys who were there first.
The early 1990s and mid-1990s saw the most intense gang activity in the suburb as more gangs moved in like Spanish Cobras, South Side Insane Popes, Gangster Party People, Insane Unknowns, Latin Pachucos, Sin City Boys and Maniac Latin Disciples. A Berwyn based gang also developed called Latin Mafia.
Law enforcement procedures were stepped up tremendously by the late 1990s and the crime rate and gang activity dramatically decreased after Berwyn got tough on gangs. Although Berwyn got wild back in the 1980s and 1990s it never came even close to being as wild as Cicero, by the 21st century Berwyn has pulled in low crime rates.