Police seeking to engage residents in fight against crime




by BRIAN NADIG

The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District is encouraging more residents to attend beat meetings following a recent increase in the number of robberies and burglaries in the district.

“We need to get the officers out there more and get the community more engaged,” district commander William Looney said at the Feb. 18 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee.

The district has been holding outdoor roll calls, often before a beat meeting, to grab the attention of residents, who are then invited to the meeting, Looney said. The next outdoor roll call will be held at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Saint Bartholomew Church, 4910 W. Addison St., followed by Beat 1634’s meeting at 7 p.m. inside the church.

The district held a Feb. 17 roll call at the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., due to homeless concerns there, and about 50 people attended a Feb. 6 roll call in the 5200 block of North Larned Avenue after a victim of a burglary in the area organized the event, Looney said.

The number of robberies reported in the district this year through Feb. 14 was 39 compared to 12 for the same period last year. Looney said that a couple of robbery crews were operating in the district and that subsequent investigations have led to the arrests of four suspects.

The district also has experienced an increase in the number of burglaries this year, with 112 being reported compared to 98 during the same period last year.

Two men were arrested in connection with a reported robbery of an apartment at about 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, in the 4800 block of North Central Avenue, according to police. A woman reported that she saw a man trying to climb through a living room window in her apartment but that he quickly fled in a nearby car, police said.

About 90 minutes later officers pulled over in the 6100 block of West Sunnyside Avenue a car which matched the description of the vehicle seen by the woman, and two of the occupants were arrested, police said. The suspects were identified by police as Julian J. Kamber, age 19, of the 4400 block of North McVicker Avenue, and Badreddine Seddiki, age 27, of the 4200 block of North Lockwood Avenue, police said.

Also at the meeting, the district announced that it is looking for additional court advocacy volunteers.

Court advocate Marty Hail said that he follows court cases which are of particular concern to the district, such as those involving crimes against seniors, and that occasionally he accompanies a victim to court. Those interested in learning more about the advocacy program are asked to call district community policing sergeant Sherry Alvarez-Pena at 312-742-4521.

Also at the meeting, the committee presented a certificate of recognition to resident Frank Schmeda for assisting an elderly woman during a recent incident outside of her home in the 6200 block of North Lacrosse Avenue. Schmeda confronted a suspected con artist, who then fled, according to police.

The committee also honored Patrick Doyle, Diane Piccolo and Matthew Blomstrand as Officer of the Month for their Dec. 21 arrest of two suspects for a reported burglary in the 6900 block of West Hobart Avenue. The suspects were arrested at the CTA Blue Line Station at Harlem and Higgins avenues.

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