Traffic enforcement leads to gun arrests


Increased traffic enforcement in the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District has led to several gun-related arrests in recent weeks.

Between Feb. 13 and March 12, there were five arrests for gun possession in the district compared to one during the same period last year, and overall there have been 11 gun-related arrests during the first 10 weeks of 2017 compared to two in 2016. The figures were reported at the March 16 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee.

District commander William Looney said that in nearly all of the incidents the suspect was arrested during a traffic stop in which officers found a gun. He added that "without a doubt" there has been a recent increase in the number of guns on the street in the district.

During a 4-week period starting in mid-February, 749 tickets and 964 written warnings were issued to motorists in the district compared to 521 tickets and 307 warnings during the same period in 2016.

The committee recently honored officers who arrested two suspected gang members after one of them was found with a handgun during a traffic stop.

It also was reported at the meeting that the number of serious crimes reported in the district this year was 413 compared 420 during the same period last year, representing a 2-percent decline. The number of robberies has decreased from 49 to 40, while the number of aggravated batteries has increased from 11 to 26.

Faith-based subcommittee chairman Dale Tippett reported that he attended a workshop in the 17th (Albany Park) Police District in which an immigration attorney addressed leaders from religious organizations.

The attorney urged undocumented immigrants not to carry identification which is false or which indicates their country of origin, according to Tippett. The attorney also recommended that parents leave contact information about their children with local clergy in the event that they find themselves being deported, Tippett said.

Looney said that the16th District may hold a similar workshop and that police are worried that undocumented immigrants may be less likely to report a crime given the enforcement changes being implemented on the federal level.

Also at the meeting, the committee presented its "Officer of the Month Award" to Christopher Malenock and Reece Murry for their arrest of a business owner after stolen merchandise reportedly was found inside the store.