ITeam: Chicago man's crusade against crime makes a difference

January 16, 2013 8:46:24 PM PST
Against all odds and spitting in the face of danger, David Muhammed did what so many people might like to do but don't. He saw wrongdoing and tried to stop it.

When drug dealers turned a West Side neighborhood into an open air drug market, Muhammed secretly turned a video camera on the drug dealers.

What started with a one-man crusade to save his neighborhood continued with Chicago police doing the heavy lifting.

Muhammed said he is happy that in the past month police have arrested almost 50 suspected drug dealers, drug buyers and drug suppliers in his neighborhood.

"What was going on around here was terrible and it's going to help the whole community, especially the children," Muhammed said. "The children see this negativity and think this is the right way of life and it's not. Hopefully it will spread throughout this whole community."

The K-Town community, where many of the streets start with the letter "K", is where open drug sales have been going on day and night mostly unchecked for years.

"If they are on the way from downtown out to the suburbs there are a number of exits and entrances they can utilize to make a purchase;" Chicago police Commander James O'Grady of the narcotics division said. "They can make their purchase and get right back on the expressway."

Muhammed worked his whole career fixing things as a CTA mechanic.

Almost one year ago, Muhammed started trying to fix K-Town.

A devout member of the Nation of Islam, Muhammed says he frequently called police but the dealers would simply scatter when squad cars drove by.

So he set up his own version of conceal and carry. He concealed a home video camera on the second floor of his house and recorded as drug buyers carried away their purchases.

The story attracted political and police attention when he posted the footage on YouTube and when the I-Team reported his story in June 2012.

"They (police) just used the videos and did their job. It's so in the open that it's real simple to do," he said.

In a city where drug murders dominate the crime statistics, Muhammed has surprisingly not been harmed.

"Well I've had a good 58 years and if something happens to me doing the right thing then it happens. God is in control," Muhammed said.

Thanks to him the police are now patrolling some streets.

"We had undercover officers make controlled purchases of narcotics and let that go on for a while before we make the arrest," O'Grady said. "These gang members and gang member affiliates were selling heroin within a close proximity to a grade school and we of course take that more seriously."

K-Town hasn't been swept clean. Investigators know some drug markets have relocated.

It remains an ongoing battle for police. Authorities and Muhammed hope the crusade they come at from different directions might inspire other people to stand up for what is right.

"Don't be afraid. The children, we are losing our children, all denominations, we are losing our children," Muhammed said. "They think that this is correct and if we don't fight for our babies, crime will take our babies."