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What GTA IV Gets Right About Gangland and Illegal Economies.

If you are a fan of the new Grand Theft Auto video game, I have just the neighborhood for you. The setting of GTA IV, Liberty City, is an amped-up version of the New York metro area. If you want a slice of the real thing, however, I'd recommend Chicago's South Side. The last time I visited Chicago, I stopped by 59th Street, near Washington Park (and only a few short blocks from the picturesque University of Chicago). Two of the local gangs were fighting each other in full view for control of a prime sales spot, a hotel. For a monthly fee, the proprietor had promised to allow one gang to turn the place into a bordello-drugs, prostitution, stolen merchandise. For the gangs, winning meant more than simply getting rid of their enemy. Neither controlled the area surrounding the hotel. Anyone bringing drugs (or women, or guns, etc.) to the hotel would have to run the gantlet formed by other enemy gangs, who would be at the ready to shoot down the transporter.

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