18th homicide in 14 months in 16th District; police concerns over recent violence halt 6 Corners drive-in movie
by BRIAN NADIG
The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District experienced its 18th homicide in the past 14 months when a 42-year-old man was fatally shot over the weekend, and the area’s increase in violent crime has forced the cancellation of a Halloween drive-in movie at Six Corners.
The man was celebrating his birthday at a bar at about 11:50 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in the 6700 block of West Belmont Avenue and went outside to smoke when two men approached him and shot him in the back, according to the Chicago Police Department. The assailants were last seen fleeing on Normandy Avenue, police said.
Eight of the homicides have occurred in 2020, with the other 10 taking place in the last few months of 2019, according to the department. Usually the district experiences between 0 and five homicides a year.
In addition, the number of shooting incidents this year has been 16 compared to 10 during the same period in 2019, and the number of robberies is 98, up from 65 last year. However, overall serious crime, including burglaries and car thefts, is down 11 percent this year, from 1,175 in 2019 to 1,051 this year.
In recent months between two and seven patrol officers a shift along with some sergeants are being detailed out to Downtown Chicago, and until about a month ago the district’s tactical officers also were being assigned elsewhere.
Earlier this month the district was assigned several additional officers, bringing its total sworn personnel to 239, but that is down from 264 in 2018. About 20 years ago the district had about 270 patrol officers in addition to supervisors.
The district has 12 beats, covering an area of about 30 square miles.
The district will be hosting its annual “strategic planning community conversation” meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Registration for the virtual meeting is available at www.eventbrite.com, or participants can call into the meeting at 1-312-626-6799 ID: 939 9888 2480 and Passcode: 748061
Meanwhile, Alderman James Gardiner (45th) recently reported that eight additional officers have been assigned to the 17th (Albany Park) Police District. Information on the total number officers in the district was not available, but it has had staffing shortages for years.
In the 17th District, there have been 10 reported homicides this year compared to five during the same period last year, and the number of shooting incidents is 54, up from 20 in 2019.
In one recent shooting, a man was shot in his hand during an in incident at about 1:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in the 5700 block of North Spaulding Avenue, police said.
Meanwhile, the showing of the “Hocus Pocus” movie at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, in the parking lot at 3968 N. Milwaukee Ave. has been canceled after the Chicago Film Office notified organizers that police have concerns about people congregating in the area due to recent crimes.
Police officials have said that gang conflicts in area neighborhoods have been responsible for several shootings, and there have been at least two shootings at Six Corners in recent months, including one homicide.