Police Commander Thomas Waldera shared with me last week some of the unheralded activities and accomplishments of his 24th District police officers. I forwarded that information to you.
Last week’s report was so well-received that the Commander agreed to share with my colleagues and me periodic updates that we could disseminate to our constituents. Below is a summary of some of last week’s activities:
Street gang/contact parole violation
A known gang member was arrested after he was seen in the company of other known gang members. Officers knowing this to be in violation of the man’s parole, placed him in custody and he is now incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Unlawful Possession of a Handgun
Officers arrested an offender for unlawful possession of a weapon. Police were called to a residence to remove an unwanted person. Upon arrival, the officers saw the offender kick a loaded blue steel handgun under a bed. The officers recovered the handgun and placed the offender in custody without incident. The offender is a member of a criminal street gang.
Criminal Trespass to Land
A man is in custody after two victims positively identified him as the offender who broke into one victim’s vehicle and moments later attempted to break into another victim’s basement and garage. Felony charges were approved. The offender is a member of a known street gang.
Criminal Defacement of Property-Paint
A “flash message,” which is a detailed description of an offender broadcast over police radios, assisted officers in locating an offender wanted for criminal defacement of property. The offender was positively identified as the individual who “tagged” CTA property. The police believe this arrest may clear more criminal defacement cases.
Three Gang members were arrested after they were given a dispersal order to leave an area known for high gang activity. The offenders returned to the area and were arrested by fellow officers who had knowledge of the original dispersal order.
In response to several recent shooting incidents, 24th District police officers have initiated 89 percent more gang loitering dispersal orders as compared to the same period last year.
Distracted driver citations (driving while using a cell phone):
Last 7 days: 91; Year to date: 1,987
Park District enforcement citations (drinking in park, in park after closing)
Last 28 days: 67; Year to date: 390
Drinking on the public way citations
Last 28 days: 49; Year to date: 376
A sustained effort to reduce crime requires the active participation and involvement of community residents. Below are some events from the last week in which community residents took part:
National Night Out
National Night Out gatherings took place in each of the nine beats in the 24th District. Over 500 community residents participated.
Anti-Violence Youth March
Centro Romero Center organized an “Anti-Violence Youth March” last week in which approximately 65 young people participated.
Approximately 25 community residents participated in a “positive loitering” march held on Wednesday, July 30th and another 14 residents braved the unseasonably chilly weather to participate in a postivie loitering event held last night (Tuesday, August 12th).
Rogers Park Positive Loitering is a group of area residents, led by Rogers Park residents John Warner and John Versical, who gather together several evenings each month to stroll through the neighborhood or simply “loiter” on certain street corners. Their sole purpose is to deter crime by their positive presence on the street. Commander Waldera is convinced the group has had a very positive effect on deterring crime.
The next Positive Loitering event is scheduled for Thursday, August 28th, 7:00 p.m., at the intersection of Morse and Glenwood.
Back to School Picnics
Two major Back to School Picnics will be held this month. They are great community-building events and underscore to parents and their children the importance of going back to school on the first day of class.
The 24th Police District will be sponsoring a Back to School Picnic on Saturday, August 16th, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the 24th District Police Station, 6464 N. Clark (at Schreiber). Food and prizes will be given away.
State Senator Heather Steans and I will be sponsoring my 24th Annual 49th Ward Back to School Picnic on Sunday, August 24th, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. in Loyola Park (Farwell and the Lake). We’ll be reminding kids and parents of the importance of returning to school and giving away free school supplies and book bags. But this is also a COMMUNITY PICNIC for people of all ages. We’re serving up free food, drinks and music and offering a host of games and prizes. We’ll have bingo for the seniors and face painting for the kids, a dance contest, a jumping jack and other carnival toys.
Upcoming CAPS Meetings
CAPS stands for the Chicago Alternative Police Strategy, which is the Chicago Police Department’s transition to a Community Policing model, which focuses on building partnerships with community residents and working with them proactively to address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues, such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.
Police Districts in Chicago are divided into beats, small geographical areas to which “beat officers” are assigned. Originally, community residents met in monthly “beat meetings” with police officers who were assigned to their beats. Together the residents and the police would exchange information, prioritize public safety issues, and develop strategies to address those issues.
A few years ago, due to budgetary constraints, the beat meetings were replaced with monthly “sector meetings” (three beats combined). These larger meetings made it difficult for the police and the community to really focus on localized issues of concern.
Because of this difficulty, Commander Waldera announced recently that the 24th District would be returning to the smaller monthly beat meetings. Budgetary constraints, however, will allow the police officers to attend the beat meetings only every other month. On the months the police officers are unable to attend, the community will still meet under the leadership and direction of “Beat Facilitators” (community volunteers who serve as the liaisons between the community and the police department) to discuss public safety issues among themselves and prioritize concerns.
Below is a map of the 24th District that delineates each police beat, followed by a list of the upcoming 49th Ward beat meetings in September:
Beat 2422 (bound by Evanston on the north, Jarvis on the south, the lake on the east and Clark on the west). Beat Facilitator: Toni Duncan.
Date and time of meeting: Tuesday, September 23rd, 7:00 p.m.
Location: Willye White Park Fieldhouse, 1610 W. Howard (at Marshfield)
Beat 2423 (bound by Jarvis on the north, Lunt on the south, the lake on the east and Clark on the west). Beat Facilitator: Tony Iniquez
Date and time of meeting: Monday, September 8th, 7:00 p.m.
Location: Touhy Park Fieldhouse, 7348 N. Paulina (at Jarvis)
Beat 2424 (bound by Howard on the north, Pratt on the south, Clark on the east and Ridge on the west). Beat Facilitator: Bernard Garbo.
Date and time of meeting: Tuesday, September 16th, 7:00 p.m.
Location: Pottawattomie Park Fieldhouse, 7340 N. Rogers (at Winchester)
Beat 2431 (bound by Lunt on the north, Pratt on the south, the lake on the east and Clark on the west). Beat Facilitator: John Warner
Date and time of meeting: To be announced.
Location: To be announced.
Beat 2432 (bound by Pratt on the north, Devon on the south, the Lake on the east and Ridge on the west). Beat Facilitator: Patrick Kenny
Date and time of meeting: Tuesday, September 9th, 7:00 p.m.
Location: 24th District Police Station, 6464 N. Clark (at Schreiber)
Many thanks to Commander Waldera and his team for providing this update. I look forward to sharing the next report with you.