Strategic support center to open in a few weeks at Jefferson Park Police Station; also in 16th District, burglaries down in 2021 but overall serious crime up 17 percent
by BRIAN NADIG
The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District will soon have a fully operational Strategic Decision Support Center to help provide real-time intelligence to beat and tactical officers.
“Every other district in the city has one. The district is the last to get one,” district commander Maureen Biggane said at the Sept. 16 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee. Construction of the center, which will be housed inside the district station at 5151 N. Milwaukee Ave., should be completed in a few weeks, she said.
The center will be staffed by two officers 24 hours a day, and they will be monitoring the approximately 20 police observation device cameras in the district, 911 calls that involve the district and publicly available social media, Biggane said. The latter could include surveillance footage of crimes which victims post on social media but do not report to police, she said.
The center’s officers will be studying crime patterns as they are developing and relaying information to patrol officers so they can better target problem areas, Biggane said. The officers also will be giving reports at roll calls, she said.
Also at the meeting, officers Esteban Ramos and Fazan Khan were selected as “officers of the month” for their Aug. 16 arrest of a man suspected in a domestic battery and aggravated assault with a handgun. The officers pulled their suspect’s car over because it matched the vehicle described in a July intelligence report on a domestic-related incident, according to police.
Biggane said that the arrest “got a gun with a laser off the street” and “the officers are paying attention to our intelligence bulletins.”
The committee also honored officer Lauren Kreher for her arrest of a suspect in the fatal stabbing of a man inside a parked car in the Wendy’s parking lot at 3939 N. Harlem Ave. Two civilians assisted police with the apprehension of the man, who tried to flee on foot.
It also was reported that a suspected gang member recently was arrested in the 4300 block of North Milwaukee Avenue after he reportedly got into a verbal altercation with a rival gang member. A handgun with a laser was recovered as a result of the arrest, police said.
Reported thefts in the district are up 54 percent this year through Sept. 12 when compared to the same period last year, with 473 incidents in 2021 and 308 in 2020.
Biggane said that the increase is due in large part to catalytic converter thefts and thefts from unlocked vehicles. She added that in recent weeks converter thieves have been targeting Mitsubishi Outlanders.
Overall serious crime in the district is up 17 percent this year, with 1,064 incidents compared to 911 in 2020. On area of decline is burglaries, with 174 incidents compared to 193 reported break-ins during the same period in 2020.