Residents give input on how to reduce crime
by BRIAN NADIG
Keeping seniors informed of recent crime trends and more positive interaction between police and teenagers are two of the recommendations made by more than 100 people who attended a March 11 wokshop on creating a crime reduction strategic plan for the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District.
Participants were asked to give their input on crime reduction, community engagement and collaborative community building.
"I’m not just impressed with your turnout, (but) your thoughtful answers," district commander Maureen Biggane said, thanking the crowd at Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave.
District community policing sergeant Sherry Alvarez-Pena said that the district would be reviewing all of the suggestions from the workshop’s participants and use them to formulate a strategic plan for 2019.
She said that a draft of the plan will be presented at a second workshop that will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Branch Community Church, 6125 W. Foster Ave. The 17th District CAPS Office will hold a similar workshop at the same time at Northeastern Illinois University, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
The plan will be updated annually, and the district encourages residents to attend beat meetings throughout the year in which they can give input and learn about recent crime in their neighborhood, Alvarez-Pena said.
Some of the recommendations made at the workshop called for an increase in the overall number of officers in the district and for more officers to be placed on foot and bike patrols to create a stronger police presence. The district has had a history of attrition problems, losing officers to retirement or transfers to O’Hare International Airport.
Others said that seniors are too often unaware of scams that target the elderly, because they do not see the crime alerts posted on social media or do not have means of transportation to attend community meetings. In addition, some workshop participants said that police should have more social activities with teenagers as part of improved community relations.
Additional comments suggested educational seminars on opioid addiction and workshops for banks to discuss issues of forgery and white-collar crimes. In the past the district has held crime prevention seminars for banks.
It also was recommended that the district have a Web site dedicated to listing all of the community policing events on the Northwest Side.