Police plan more bike, foot patrols over next two weeks
by BRIAN NADIG
A citywide crime-fighting initiative will be in place this week and next.
“You will see quite a few of us on bike or on foot, strategically placed where we’ve had our violence,” commander Maureen Biggane said at the May 20 meeting of the 16th (Jefferson Park) District Advisory Committee.
One area of focus for the foot and bike patrols will be the district’s southeast end, where several shooting incidents have been reported in the past year. Through May 2, ten shooting incidents have been reported in the district compared to nine during the same period last year, according to police.
Overall serious crime is up 20 percent this year, with 458 incidents compared to 383 during the same period in 2020. The largest percentage increase is in the category of criminal sexual assaults, up from nine in 2020 to 21 this year.
Despite recent increases, this year’s overall number of reported crimes is down about 30 percent from 2017 (633 incidents) and 2018 (660 incidents).
The committee selected officers William Papastefan and Brian Burak as “officers of the month” for their April 13 arrest of a suspect in a gun-related incident in the 5800 block of West Irving Park Road. The officers pulled over a car about 6 p.m. following a report of a gun being displaying out of the sunroof of a vehicle, according to police.
The officers reported that they smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the car and recovered a firearm affixed to the center gear shift, police said. In addition, two loaded Glock magazines reportedly were found in inside the car, police said.
It also was announced that 123 pets received an identification microchip during a May 15 clinic that the district co-sponsored at the Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership, 5133 W. Irving Park Road, and that the district recently held a “coffee with a cop” in which residents and merchants could meet with officers at Eggsperience Café, 4925 W. Irving Park Road.
The district also recently honored its custodial staff for its efforts to keep the police station properly sanitized during the pandemic. “They just rolled with the punches and kept us safe,” Biggane said.