Gunshot incidents rise in 16th District
by BRIAN NADIG
The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District has experienced an apparent increase in gunshot incidents in recent months, although few injuries have resulted, according to district commander William Looney.
At the April 19 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee, it was reported that a surveillance camera recently captured footage of a driver in the 5300 block of West Leland Avenue firing seven shots at another car, which earlier almost crashed into the gunman’s vehicle. Smoke could be seen coming from the gunman’s vehicle.
The driver who was shot at never reported the incident, although a neighbor called police after hearing the gunshots, Looney said. A woman reported that gunshots were fired at about 7:50 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, on Leland Avenue, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police.
The 20-year-old woman reported that while she was inside her residence, she heard several gunshots outside and then saw someone running away, according to police. Police later found shell casings in the area.
Many of the area’s shooting incidents are related to offenders who are driving through the area, Looney said.
"A lot of guns are out there, and people are using them," he said.
In March a man was arrested after he reportedly fired gunshots in the 4000 block of North Laporte Avenue, and another man was arrested after police reportedly found drugs and ammunition in his vehicle that was pulled over in the 8500 block of West Bryn Mawr Avenue.
Looney said that it is difficult to quantify the actual number of gunshot incidents because some go unreported due to lack of an injury or damage, while others could have been firecrackers. "It sure seems like (an increase)," Looney said.
There were seven reported gunshot incidents between March 21 and 25 in the district, including a home in the 3700 block of North Oketo Avenue which was sprayed with gunfire. However, only one of the incidents resulted in an injury. Overall, the number of incidents in which someone was shot is five, down from seven in the district during the same period in 2017.
The advisory committee also discussed the district court advocacy program in which residents attend court hearings in support of the victims.
Court advocate Eva Skowronski said that in some cases she has been allowed to contact the victim ahead of the hearing.
"Some of them are very happy and feel very comfortable that someone will be there and spend time in court with them," she said.
The committee also presented its "Officer of the Month Award" to Matthew Scott and Robert Gniot for their Feb. 27 arrest of a suspect in connection with a home invasion in the 5000 block of West Argyle Street.
In other news, the district’s community policing office will hold a faith and action meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 25, at the Eden United Church of Christ, 5051 W. Gunnison St. It will include an outdoor roll call and a meet-and-greet with the area’s beat officers.
The office also will hold a summer safety rally from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave. It will include children’s activities.
For more information, call the 16th District CAPS Office at 312-742-4521.