Though violence remains a problem, a recent University of Chicago study highlights the very real progress we’ve made in Rogers Park. According to the study, Rogers Park has experienced an 80% drop in homicides since 1990, the biggest percentage drop in murders of any neighborhood in Chicago.
The study was featured in a FOX32 reportlast night.
For a copy of the study, CLICK HERE.
To view the FOX32 report, CLICK HERE.
The study covers the years 1990 to 2011, but24th District Commander Thomas Walderatells me the downward trend in violence in Rogers Park continues. Commander Waldera reports that homicides in Rogers Park this year are down 50% as compared to the same period last year and shootings have dropped 30%.
The study notes that the homicide rate in Rogers Park is half that of New York City’s, which is widely hailed for its transformation into the “safest big city in the U.S.” and is equivalent to the homicide rate in Toronto, which has the lowest murder rate of any big city in North America.
What explains Rogers Park’s transformation? Though Rogers Park experienced some redevelopment in the last 20 years, this does not begin to explain such a dramatic drop in the murder rate. Fortunately, our neighborhood did not undergo the wholesale “gentrification” experienced by other north side neighborhoods. It is still a diverse, mixed-income community.
Instead, the answer lies in our active and engaged citizenry and enlightened 24th District Police Department. Studies show that the safest neighborhoods are those where the residents are involved and work hand in glove with the local police.
In my first campaign for alderman in 1991, I ran on a pledge to bring community policing to Rogers Park and Chicago. Less than two years later, thanks to the hard work of many, the 24th Police District became the first community policing pilot district in the City. Though community policing has faltered in other parts of the City over the last 20 years, it remains very much part of the fabric of our neighborhood, with scores of neighborhood volunteers attending monthly beat meetings and participating in “positive loitering” efforts.
We’ve also been blessed to have throughout the years a series of district police commanders, including our current commander, Thomas Waldera, who understand and appreciate the importance of community involvement to crime fighting efforts.
Though our neighborhood should take pride in our successful efforts to reduce violence, we should not rest on our laurels. Violence and shootings are still far too prevalent.
Last winter’s successful shutdown of an open air drug market on Morse Avenue–an action made possible through information provided by neighborhood residents–is only one recent example of the successful partnership forged by the police and the community in Rogers Park. Commander Waldera and I have scheduled regular monthly meetings with Howard Street business and property owners to enlist their assistance in improving the public safety of the street and we recently have initiated monthly meetings with North of Howard landlords to enlist their help as well.
These meetings have proved invaluable to our efforts to improve the public safety of the Howard Street area. We hope to emulate those meetings in other parts of the community in the months ahead.
The monthly CAPS beat meetings also play a vital role in our efforts to reduce crime.
The beat meeting is one of the most important intelligence gathering venues. It’s where the police officers and community residents meet to share information, discuss ongoing concerns and develop strategies to combat those concerns. My office is always represented at these meetings and Commander Waldera often attends as well.
For a schedule of upcoming beat meetings in the 24th District, CLICK HERE.
For a map of the beats in the 24th District and help in finding your beat,CLICK HERE.
Together we have made remarkable progress in making our neighborhood one of the safest in Chicago. Let’s keep it up!