‘Boots on the ground’ approach to community policing to be emphasized in 16th/Jefferson Park District in 2021
by BRIAN NADIG
In 2021 a “boots on the ground” approach to community policing will have a stronger emphasis in the 16th (Jefferson Park) District.
The district has about 7,000 followers on its social media accounts but cannot rely solely on those outlets to get important information to residents, according to 16th District commander Maureen Biggane.
“There’s a large segment of the population that just doesn’t use social media,” Biggane said at the Dec. 22 virtual meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee.
Biggane added that there have been problems with false information about crimes spreading on social media and that too often witnesses are posting details of a crime online but not notifying the police. “We have to be better at quashing the rumors and getting information out,” she said. “Please call 911. … That tells us where to deploy folks.”
In recent months the district gas begun conducting “Walk and Talk with Tact” events in neighborhoods where there has been a shooting or a crime pattern. The district has been leaving fliers at area homes informing residents of the event, including a Dec. 8 walk near Laramie Avenue and Melrose Street, where a man was found shot in a car a couple days earlier.
The walks have been well received, as many participants come out of their home and join as the group heads down their block, Biggane said. The tactical officers will answer questions and discussion recent crime prevention missions in the area.
Also at the meeting, Biggane said that the district’s top three priorities for 2021 will be addressing robberies, burglaries and thefts from motor vehicles, including the stealing of catalytic converters. She said that the priorities were based on feedback which the district received from residents and merchants during its recent crime-fighting strategy seminars.
Robberies in the district have experienced the highest percentage increase (37 percent) of all the major crime categories when compared to 2019. There have been 119 robberies, including 13 carjackings, through Dec. 20 compared to 87, including eight carjackings, last year.
Meanwhile, reported burglaries are down eight percent, with 319 incidents compared to 347 in 2019.
Biggane said that many of the reported thefts from parked cars result from thieves checking door handles. “Lock your car doors,” she said.