Residents of the mainly black South Side want stop-and-search tactics brought back as gang murders plague President Barack Obama’s home city.
The cluster of young men hanging out on the porch of the run-down brick home cast menacing stares at the unknown car as a “spotter”, a teen on a bicycle, talked into a mobile phone.
Beneath a tree across the street, burned red candle wax was the last remnant of an impromptu shrine for a 13-year-old boy, Tyquan Tyler, shot dead two weeks earlier by a killer just a few years older than him.
The assailant had run through an alleyway past a boarded-up home, mown down his victim and then disappeared back down the same route into a neighbouring street before the “ATM boys” could respond with their Glock pistols.
In the killing zones of Chicago’s predominantly black and poor South Side, turf warfare is no longer waged for control of districts but street to street.
A splintering of traditional gangs into smaller factions – known as crews or cliques – with ever-younger members desperate to prove their tough-guy credentials is fuelling a murder rate that makes swathes of Chicago more lethal than Afghanistan.
Even as violent crime has decreased in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, the murder rate soared here by 38 per cent in the first six months of the year. There were 259 murders in that period, with another 18 so far in July.