Residents give input on strategies to fight crime
by BRIAN NADIG
Criminals using the expressway or the CTA Blue Line to access the Far Northwest Side were among the concerns raised at the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District’s annual strategic planning meeting.
About 75 people participated in the Oct. 20 virtual meeting, which the Chicago Police Department calls a "community conversation." Each of the city’s 22 police districts holds a similar meeting in the fall as part of a consent decree overseeing police reform.
District community policing sergeant Jeffery Aaron said that input from the meeting would be used to formulate the district’s 2021 strategic crime-fighting plan.
The district will hold a follow-up meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, to gather input on a draft of the plan. Registration for the meeting is available at www.eventbrite.com (Search "16th District").
During the 90-minute meeting, residents and officers acknowledged how home surveillance systems can help identify thieves, and a recommendation was made that the city or state install cameras at area expressway ramps since thieves are sometimes using those ramps to gain easy access to and a quick escape from area neighborhoods.
Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th) said that her ward has several neighborhoods, including Forest Glen and Sauganash, which are next to expressway ramps and that the cameras would provide an additional tool to help police identify vehicles being used in crimes in those communities. She said that her role as alderman is to get district "the resources you need to do your job," including more officers and better technology.
Nugent added that one of her concerns is the recent increase in gang violence in the 17th (Albany Park) Police District spreading into the 16th Police District. Cicero Avenue is the dividing line between the two districts.
Nugent also thanked police for their investigation that led to an arrest in a June 29 fatal shooting at the Esquire Motel, 6145 N. Elston Ave.
In that incident, officers responded to a call of a person shot and discovered a 36-year-old Kentucky woman with a gunshot wound to the back of the head in a hotel room where she was later pronounced deceased, according to police.
A man was arrested in August in connection with the reported murder in what police have described as an apparent drug deal, police said.
The man was identified as an alleged participant in the Esquire incident through surveillance footage and cell phone records, according to the Chicago Police Department Office of News Affairs.
The suspect was identified by police as Glen Humes, age 37, of the 6600 block of South Parnell Avenue. He was arrested at about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, in the 300 block of North LaGrange Road in LaGrange, police said.
Also at the meeting, a resident expressed concern that thieves and burglars are exiting the Harlem CTA Blue Line station, 5550 N. Harlem Ave., and breaking into cars and garages in nearby neighborhoods. In addition, others expressed concerns about a series of catalytic converter thefts.
Several meeting participants called for more foot patrols, which have been scaled back in recent months in the business districts as officers have been detailed out to Downtown Chicago and other parts of the city. Recommendations also were made that officers should periodically stop at school recesses and engage with the students and that the city should offer computer tablets to seniors during the pandemic so that city agencies can better communicate with them.
There also were suggestions that police step up efforts to provide businesses with safety tips following a recent incident in which a robber pistol-whipped two Jefferson Park store operators, sending them to the hospital. There also was a recommendation for the creation of a racial equity subcommittee as part of the 16th District Advisory Committee, which includes community leaders.