Edgebrook POD camera planned
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) is planning to have a Police Observation Camera with license plate reader technology installed near the Caldwell-Devon intersection in Edgebrook, not far from a reported shooting incident at about 3 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14.
The 30-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to both legs after a bullet reportedly fired from an occupant in a white sport utility vehicle went through a door of the man’s car and struck his legs, according to Chicago police.
The man drove himself to Lutheran General Hospital and was in good condition, police said.
Gardiner announced plans for the camera at a safety seminar he hosted on Nov. 16, in the Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Auditorium, 6040 W. Ardmore Ave.
The camera, which was in the works prior to the Nov. 14 incident, is intended to help police track stolen vehicles and offenders as they leave the area, Gardiner said.
Last year a man was robbed at gunpoint on a side street a few blocks away from the Caldwell-Devon intersection, and earlier this year there were reports of gunfire from a vehicle in the 5100 block of West Devon Avenue.
The camera, which is estimated to cost about $27,000, will be funded through the 45th Ward’s annual allocation of $1.5 million in discretionary funds, the vast majority of which go toward side-street resurfacing, Gardiner said.
An installation date for the camera has not been determined, Gardiner said. He added that he also would like to have a POD camera also installed near the Milwaukee-Austin intersection in Gladstone Park.
Since last year there have been about five POD cameras installed in the 45th Ward, mostly in the Jefferson Park and Portage Park areas.
At the meeting, 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District captain Mike Barz said that the cameras play a vital role in apprehending suspects and locating stolen vehicles, especially given staffing issues and new restrictions on car chases for property crimes.
In addition, Barz said, the license plate numbers from stolen cars are entered in the system as soon as possible and can be picked up from a camera, alerting police to the whereabouts of fleeing offenders. “We (also) put the helicopters on it, … and we’ve had tremendous success,” he said.
Barz offered the following crime prevention tips:
Do not leave your car running unattended. “Winter’s coming. We always see an increase in stolen motor vehicles. … Park in well lit areas (and) take your keys with you.”
Barz said to report suspicious behavior anddo not confront car and catalytic converter thieves. “If you see that, call 911. Don’t confront these criminals. They’re armed, dangerous.”
Barz said that three guns were recovered recently when a catalytic converter suspect was arrested in the 5300 block of West Winona Street in Jefferson Park.
The Chicago Police Department is working with other law enforcing agencies to identify those groups who are buying the stolen converters, Barz said.