I plan to send the 24th District’s weekly report on activities in the district later today. But I thought it was important first to bring you up to date on some recent high profile incidents in our neighborhood that you may have heard or read about and the police response to those incidents.
Homicide on Juneway
A 19-year-old man was shot to death on the 1600 block of West Juneway last Thursday afternoon. The victim allegedly was one of the top leaders of a local street gang and police believe he was responsible for several shootings in the area. This was the second incident this summer of a person shot in the North of Howard community. The other incident police believe was an accidental self-inflicted wound.
In response, police have further stepped up patrols in the area and engaged in other creative policing strategies. Fortunately, no additional shootings have taken place since then.
The shooting occurred outside one of the buildings owned by Northpoint, a company that owns and manages approximately 400 units of housing north of Howard. The victim did not reside in a Northpoint building, but someone gave him unauthorized access to the building at which he was shot.
Northpoint hired a new security company last month and immediately increased their coverage to 24 hours a day following the shooting. The operations manager of the new security company has been in regular contact with the police. Additionally, Northpoint has just began installing additional security cameras at all their buildings, a result of an agreement they entered into with me several months ago.
Car Fire on Lunt
A car was intentionally set on fire last Saturday afternoon on the 1200 block of West Lunt. A local electronic news outlet incorrectly reported that the car had been firebombed. A forensic analysis of the car revealed no evidence of an incendiary device. Nonetheless, an intentionally set car fire is a serious offense and cause for great concern.
The car was owned by an alleged street gang member, who police believe was the intended target in at least two shootings this past year at which innocent bystanders were killed—the shooting at the Pratt and Clark McDonald’s last February and the Devon Avenue shooting last July.
Police detectives believe the intended victim was staying with a girlfriend at an apartment building near the car fire. Police Commander Thomas Waldera and I met with the owner of the building, who confirmed that the intended target was not on any lease and was not authorized to be in the building.
He agreed to post fliers prominently throughout the building advising residents that the man was not permitted in the building and to call police if he was spotted. The landlord also agreed to sign a complaint for trespassing if the man returned to the building.
Many Rogers Park residents have noticed the frequent presence of a helicopter in our neighborhood over the past week. This is a police helicopter. The Police Department is including Rogers Park and other North Side neighborhoods as part of its routine patrols, much like a squad car, except it is up in the air and can cover more territory more quickly.
This, together with additional police resources on the ground, is part of an overall strategy to boost police presence and tamp down on the violence. Police in a helicopter can see things that officers on the ground may not be able to see. Plus it sends a message to those contemplating violence.
The Police Department does not intend for the helicopter to become a permanent fixture in our neighborhood, but during this time of heightened tension, they believe it could be a useful tool.
We have come to associate helicopters in the air with bad events, such as a train derailment, hostage crisis, capsized boat in Lake Michigan and the like. But please rest assured, for the vast majority of time, the police helicopter is on routine patrol only. Occasionally, however, it may be called into service to assist the police in certain incidents.
One such incident occurred Monday night, when police responded to a call of “shots fired” at the intersection of Clark and Rogers. Upon arriving, they witnessed several men fleeing into a building. The police helicopter was nearby and heard the call on the police radio. It flew to the scene and shined a spotlight on the building to assist the officers on the ground in apprehending the men. It turned out that the men had fireworks in their possession and were shooting the fireworks in observance of Mexican Independence Day.
You are welcome to contact my office if you have any questions or want to confirm any rumors you have heard, but if it’s a police-related matter, I suggest you first contact the 24th District Community Policing Office at CAPS.024District@chicagopolice.org or 312-744-6321.
I will continue to keep you posted on developments as they occur.