Police hope to focus on problem building owners


The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District is looking to step up enforcement against the owners of buildings where drug and gang activity has been reported.

The district held an outdoor roll call May 4 in the 3500 block of North Linder Avenue after police received reports of possible drug dealing in front of an apartment building there. Some residents had reported suspicious incidents of cars driving up and leaving.

District commander William Looney said that two-dozen residents and Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th) attended the roll call. "The good news, there was a moving truck," Looney said at the May 18 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee.

Villegas has been in contact with the building’s landlord in an effort to address residents’ concerns. A spokesman for Villegas said that problems with the building date back 20 years but that the owner is cooperating.

The district also is looking at a Jefferson Park apartment building where a search warrant was executed last winter as part of a narcotics investigation and where a shooting occurred this spring outside the building, Looney said.

In some instances the district may seek the help of the Chicago Police Department’s narcotics division to identify and deal with problem buildings, Looney said.

The city maintains a "drug and gang building" list, and the police, buildings and law departments work together to address issues at these properties. The criteria for determining a problem building includes the number of 911 or 311 calls for service, arrests and building code violations at the property, Looney said.

The committee also discussed a recent incident in which a SWAT team responded to a call of a robbery at a unlicensed social club at 6855 W. Addison St. Police later determined that a robbery did not occur, and licensing citations were issued.

Social clubs are required to have a dues-paying list of at least 50 members, and it is not unusual for a club to lack licenses and to allow gambling, Looney said. "We only have a couple legitimate social clubs (in the district)," he said.

Also in the district, over the Memorial Day weekend police issued citations to the operators of a reportedly unlicensed club at 4801 N. Austin Ave. A large crowd was dispersed there after officers responded to a noise complaint, police said.

The establishment reportedly was hosting parties in which an admission charge was collected. An event called "Booty Twerk Night" was held there on Saturday, May 13, according to a Facebook posting.

It also was reported that three men were arrested at about 1 a.m. Thursday, April 13, in the 3600 block of North Laramie Avenue in connection with car burglaries, and three men and a woman were arrested at about 4:10 a.m. Sunday, April 30, in an alley in the 4800 block of West Grace Street for public drinking. One of the suspects in the alley reportedly dropped an object behind a trash can as officers approached, and a handgun was found there, police said.

The committee honored Kenneth Weller and David Mullany as "Officer of the Month" for their March 21 arrest of three suspects after cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs reportedly were found inside their car.

Aldermen Nicholas Sposato (38th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) will hold a rally in support of police from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, in front of the 16th District Station, 5151 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th) will hold a public safety forum with Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at the Chicago Tabernacle Church, 3231 N. Cicero Ave. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

The district is co-sponsoring a Father’s Day bike ride that will start at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 18, at Eli’s Cheesecake World, 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive. Registration is required.

For more information, call 773-308-7015.