Concerns about fireworks, junkers aired at workshop
by BRIAN NADIG Concerns about junk collectors driving down alleys, illegal fireworks displays and a scam targeting senior citizens were expressed at a safety workshop held by the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District and Alderman Mary O’Connor (41st). “These guys are casing and looking for open garages,” a resident said of the scrap metal collectors who drive the alleys near his home. About 25 people attended the workshop, which was held July 2 at the Roden Library, 6083 N. Northwest Hwy. 16th District tactical sergeant Patrick Haran said that junk dealers are not supposed to be collecting between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and that the trucks of unlicensed collectors can have be impounded. “It costs $2,000 to get it out,” Haran said. The district issued 123 citations for unlicensed dealers during the first six months of 2013. O’Connor said that she would look into the possibility of the city requiring dealers to display a copy of a business license or permit on their vehicle. Also at the meeting, several residents expressed concern about the use of illegal fireworks each Fourth of July. One man said that he made 27 calls to the 911emergency center last year about an illegal fireworks show at a condominium complex in the 6500 block of West Higgins Avenue but that police did not stop it, in part he said because a police officer was among the people running the show. Haran said that the complex is on a list of locations which he planned to visit to warn property owners about fireworks. The list is based on complaints that the police or the alderman’s office have received in the past. Haran said that police are busy on the Fourth of July and that officers often must respond first to other problems. No fireworks-related citations were issued in the district on July 4 this year, according to police. Concerns also were expressed about teenagers congregating at parks. Haran said that officers occasionally will disperse an outdoor basketball game before the park’s closing if noise from the game is creating a disturbance. O’Connor aide Jason Hernandez reported at the meeting that the alderman’s office has received complaints about a scam in which seniors are solicited over the phone about a medical alert device. Hernandez said that residents should be cautious about giving personal information over the phone. The alderman’s office will sponsor several bicycle safety workshops later this year. Information will be posted later this month at www.ward41.com.