Police conducting roadside missions to encourage people to stay home
by BRIAN NADIG
As part of a citywide directive, the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District has begun daily roadside safety missions in which motorists are checked for seatbelts and given fliers instructing them to “stay home, stay safe” during the pandemic.
The missions are being conducted three times a day, or once per shift, at various locations, according to the district. Each mission lasts about 45 to 60 minutes, with about 200 fliers being distributed to motorists.
On Wednesday morning, April 22, the district set up a mission at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Gale Street, just to the north of the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Officers who were wearing gloves and masks would enter the intersection and approach stopped vehicles, handing a flier to drivers.
It appeared that the officers were not trying to engage the drivers in a conversation, but there were a lot of exchanges of “thank you” and “stay safe” between the drivers and officers.
Missions also have even conducted in the Six Corners and Belmont-Central commercial districts. In addition, officers have given fliers to motorists waiting in the drive-through lane at the Starbucks Coffee, 6332 N. Northwest Hwy., where there have been reports of waiting vehicles backing up onto Harlem Avenue.
The flier states that “with the order in place, individuals can still fulfill all of their essential needs, including traveling to obtain necessary supplies, including food, pet supplies medicine or take-out food; attending medical or mental health appointments; and visiting private businesses that offer essential services, including pharmacies, gas stations, grocery stores, hardware stores, banks and laundromats.”
The flier also states that “with the order in place, individuals must immediately stop trips for unnecessary goods or services, participating in gatherings, meetings or play dates, visiting private businesses that offer non-essential services, including dine-in restaurants, retail stores and gyms.”
In the district, serious crime is down about 14 percent this year through April 19, when compared to the same period last year. There have been 353 incidents, including, burglaries, aggravated batteries and vehicle thefts, compared to 412 during the same period in 2019. The district has had three homicides in 2020.