Footage of crimes, suspicious activities help to solve cases
by BRIAN NADIG
Residents who report a crime should make it clear to police officers or the 911 or 311 operator if they have video footage of the incident, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District commander Maureen Biggane.
"I read every single crime report everyday. I can have a (tactical) team … retrieve the video," Biggane said. She made her remarks at a 38th Ward public safety meeting on April 10 at Dunham Park, 4638 N. Melvina Ave.
As an example, Biggane said, clear footage of the theft of tires or a catalytic converter from a parked vehicle does not necessarily have to be on the video to be helpful to police.
In some instances other suspicious activity, such as a car being driven up and down the same block several times, could lend a clue as to when the thefts are occurring, Biggane said.
"That becomes a pattern for me, and that’s where I’m deploying my resources," she said.
Also at the meeting, it was reported that a teenager was arrested in connection with a March 25 incident at Dunham Park, in which a jogger reported that a teenager threatened to shoot him if he didn’t keep running. A .32-caliber revolver was reportedly found in the suspect’s possession.
A resident reported that he and his 4-month-old daughter were victims of a Dec. 1 armed carjacking in the 4400 block of North Meade Avenue. He said that he was appalled to learn that a juvenile suspected in the incident and charged in connection with other carjackings was released without a monitoring device, given that the he had put a gun to his head.
"We feel your frustration," district captain Hootan Bahmandeji said. "We do our part and lock them up."
Others at the meeting expressed concern about thieves who they said use the CTA Blue Line to travel to and from their neighborhood, where they break into cars and homes.
It also was reported that the district has 267 sworn personnel, including patrol officers and supervisors.
Biggane said that the total is about 10 percent higher from the start of the year, but that the figure remains "fluid" with officers leaving the district and others bidding into it.
Biggane added that on regular work days 16th District officers are not being deployed to other districts, but that on their days off some have worked overtime in other districts.
It also was announced that the number of reported robberies in the district this year has decreased by 52 percent, from 42 to 20, compared to the same period last year. In addition, burglaries have decreased 45 percent, from 170 to 93, and motor vehicle thefts 28 percent, from 107 to 77.
There also has been one confirmed report of a person being shot in the district this year, compared to five during the same period last year.
In some instances, gunshot victims are being treated at Community First Medial Center, 5645 W. Addison St., but it is later determined that the shootings occurred outside the district, Biggane said.
At the end of the meeting, Alderman Nicholas Sposato said that a nosy neighbor like the character "Gladys Kravitz" from the television show "Bewitched" could be a great deterrent to crime.
The district has held seminars in which former burglars claimed their arrest was due to a neighbor calling 911 and reporting suspicious activity, Sposato said. "A Mrs. Kravitz" can be a good friend to any homeowner, he said.