Two police observation cameras planned for Sauganash area; streetscape announced for portion of Pulaski Road, just s. of Devon
by BRIAN NADIG
A police observation device camera with license plate reader technology is expected to be installed near the Peterson-Cicero intersection in the coming months, and a second camera for the Sauganash areas is in the works for the Pulaski-Bryn Mawr intersection.
Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th) and 17th (Albany Park) Police District commander Ronald Pontecore Jr. discussed crime and other issues at the Sauganash Park Community Association’s Sept. 21 meeting, which was held in-person and available via live stream.
Also in the ward, cameras were installed earlier this year at the Milwaukee-Elston and Kimball-Bryn Mawr intersections. License plate reader technology is being added to the POD farmers at those locations.
Nugent said that the location for the Peterson-Cicero camera was chosen due to reported carjackings in the area in the past year and problems with criminals fleeing via the nearby Edens Expressway ramps. “It’s just another tool” to fight crime, Nugent said of the cameras.
Several Northwest Side aldermen have been seeking additional POD cameras for their wards in an effort to help police track fleeing offenders given that in many instances police are prohibited from chasing offenders.
The Chicago Police Department prohibits the motor vehicle pursuit of offenders whose most serious offense is believed to be a theft, including the stealing of catalytic converters, and there are several restrictions on chases involving more serious crimes following a study which showed that 66 percent of the 270 motor vehicle pursuits in the city in 2019 had resulted in crashes.
Pontecore encouraged residents to attend beat meetings. “Beat meetings are a great tool because you get to actually meet the officers working your beat,” he said.
On the topic of converter thefts, Pontecore said that thieves are looking for “a certain type of rare metal inside it” and that there are “multiple crews” throughout the city stealing the converters.
Earlier this year there were numerous reports of teen drinking and vandalism at Sauganash Park, 5861 N. Kostner Ave., but the problems eventually dissipated, Pontecore said. “We had a car sit out there and make sure nothing happened,” he said.
At the time notices were sent to area schools in an effort to warn youngsters that police would be taking a “zero tolerance” approach to rowdy behavior at the park, and in June the closing time for the park was changed from 11 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Also at the meeting, Nugent announced plans for the streetscaping of Pulaski Road between Devon Avenue on the north and Rosemont Avenue on the south. It will include street resurfacing and new curbs, gutters, catch basins and trees, she said.
The meeting’s agenda also included a presentation from the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Information on association membership, which is $30 for adults ($20 for seniors), is available at www.sauganashpark.org. Checks can be dropped off at Wintrust Bank, 4343 W. Peterson Ave.