Strategic deployment of officers results in gun-related arrests in 16th District; buildings commissioner Beaudet discusses illegal clubs at Ald. Gardiner’s safety meeting
by BRIAN NADIG
“Data-driven deployment of our officers,” based on the real-time analysis of crime as it occurs, has resulted in gun-related arrests this week in the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District, according to district captain Mike Barz.
This analysis is being done in the district’s new Strategic Decision Support Center, which includes access to Police Observation Device cameras, Barz explained at a March 10 safety meeting hosted by Alderman James Gardiner (45th). The district was the last in the city to get a support center.
The district has been implementing traffic missions in neighborhoods where there have been crime problems, such as reports of gunshots, and the center gives the district the ability to quickly examine crime patterns and relocate resources as needed, Barz said.
Earlier this week officers on a traffic mission were “waved down by a citizen” who reported an attempted armed carjacking near Lawler Avenue and Irving Park Road, and a short time later two suspects were in custody, Barz said. “Our guys are Johnny-on-the-spot,” he said.
In addition, officers on a mission near Irving Park and Cumberland Avenue arrested a woman on gun and drug charges following a traffic stop, Barz said.
Also at the meeting, city buildings commissioner Matthew Beaudet outlined what his department and other city agencies are doing to combat unlicensed night clubs/social clubs. “If you go into some these, it looks like Vegas,” he said, adding that gambling machines and a full bar are common.
“Nothing good can come out of this. … These are cash businesses,” Beaudet said. “They don’t care to be good neighbors.”
Some of the clubs will promote themselves as a veterans group or an event place for children’s parties, but they often are open 24 hours a day and pay no taxes on the liquor being sold and gambling revenue being collected, Beaudet said.
These clubs usually pay their rent in cash, with the landlord ignoring the illegal activity, Beaudet said. In some instances landlords are receiving a vacancy reduction on their building’s assessed valuation, reducing their tax bill, even though the storefront is not empty, he said.
City Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection enforcement unit manager Joseph Sneed asked residents to report illegal businesses to him at Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sneed said that his team works Thursday through Sunday nights.
Concerns were raised at the meeting about the high number of vacant storefronts in the area, as one resident said it is increasingly more difficult to lease storefronts given that much of all shopping is online.
Gardiner said that development can be a tricky issue. While more density in the area can attract more businesses, reaching a consensus on the proper amount of density for a neighborhood is difficult and often controversial, he said.
“You just can’t do this with your accelerator to the floor,” Gardiner said, adding that the process can take time. He said that many people move to Jefferson Park because “they like the single-family environment.”
The ward has seen about $450 million of development investment since 2019, Gardiner said. He added most of that is in Six Corners but that he expects more development to start moving north into Jefferson Park.
About 80 people attended the meeting, which was held at Branch Community Church, 6125 W. Foster Ave.