The crime reports for 2014 are out and I’m pleased to report that serious crime in the 24th Police District, which includes the 49th Ward, continues to trend down.
This promising report comes on the heels of a tough year in the 24th District in which several high profile shootings and homicides, stemming from a dispute between rival factions of the same street gang, caused justifiable community concern. By the end of the year, the number of serious crimes in 2014 remained identical to 2013 and was 21% lower than 2012 and 28% lower than 2011.
Shootings, however, remain a cause for concern. Last year, the 24th District experienced 38 shooting incidents. This compares to 26 incidents in 2013, 35 incidents in 2012, and 26 incidents in 2011. Though the number of shootings in the 24th District represents only a small fraction of the 2,084 shootings that occurred citywide last year, it is still completely unacceptable.
The Chicago Police Department, under the leadership of Superintendent Garry McCarthy (right) and 24th District Commander Thomas Waldera, has implemented a novel, proactive approach to stem future shootings known as“Custom Notifications.” Relying on studies that show most perpetrators and victims of shootings are part of a small network of individuals engaged in criminal enterprises, the police have made personal visits with many of those individuals.
Often with their family members present, the police review their criminal record and make they know the legal risks of continuing their criminal behavior. Many times those engaged in criminal behavior don’t fully understand their legal positions and that when they get to a certain point, they begin to face very stiff penalties that will land them in jail for years.
These individuals are also offered an array of social services, including substance abuse treatment, GED sessions and job training and placement. Though the program is in its infancy in the 24th District, it is already showing some promising results. Many of those subject to a custom notification have availed themselves of the social services and so far this year, the 24th District has experienced only one shooting incident.
Of course, community involvement also plays a critical role in reducing crime. Community policing meetings once again are taking place on the beat level. These monthly CAPS beat meetings 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 usually 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!