Arrests reported in robberies
by BRIAN NADIG
Arrests have been reported in eight of the 18 robberies reported in the first 7 weeks of 2020 in the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District.
"And we have some leads in the other ones," commander Maureen Biggane said at the Feb. 20 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee. Last year during the same time frame the district had 10 reported robberies.
The arrests include suspects in two gas station robberies, a Feb. 3 carjacking in the 6400 block of North Oak Park Avenue and a Feb. 13 carjacking in the 6100 block of West Eddy Street, Biggane said.
In addition, several juveniles were arrested for reported robberies on Feb. 13 to15 in the Portage Park area in which the victims in some instances were knocked to the ground, according to police. A robbery mission team made those arrests, and one of the suspects was arrested in connection with two of the robberies, police said.
Despite the recent increase in robberies, the district through Feb. 16 experienced an overall 20-percent drop in serious crimes, with 157 incidents compared to 197 in 2019, Biggane said. Some of the largest reductions were in burglaries, dropping from 47 in 2019 to 26 this year and vehicle thefts from 48 to 38.
It also was reported that a man was arrested on Jan. 10 in connection with the theft of packages from porches in the 5300 block of West School Street. Officers apprehended the suspect after a brief foot chase, police said.
"It’s a huge issue up here," Biggane said of the thefts.
Also at the meeting, it was announced that a graffiti suspect would be performing 100 hours of community service work. He was arrested on Feb. 2 in connection with reported vandalism in the Gladstone Park commercial area.
The committee presented its "Officer of the Month" Award to officers Sammy Encarnacion, Evan Solano, Grzegorz Gomulka and Jose Rodriguez for their Dec. 7 arrest of two suspects in a reported carjacking in the 6300 block of West Belmont Avenue. An Uber driver reported being robbed at gunpoint, and the suspects were arrested after the car crashed as officers were pursing it, police said.
At the end of the meeting committee chairman Thomas Bucaro reported that a proposed ordinance would change how district advisory committees are constituted. He said that the ordinance, which was discussed at a citywide meeting of DAC chairs, would require the chair to be chosen through a formal district-wide election, similar to how members of local school councils are voted in.
Each of the city’s 22 police districts has a committee, which consists of volunteers, including representatives of neighborhood and business groups. Committee members are asked to help keep their communities informed of crime patterns and crime prevention initiatives.