The Chicago Police Department released its 2008 crime statistics, and it’s a mixed bag for our neighborhood.
The good news is that total index crime in the 24th Police District fell 1.3% in 2008 as compared to 2007. The 24th District was one of only four police districts in the city that experienced an overall reduction in index crime. Citywide, index crime was up 2.5%.
Index crimes include violent crimes, such as murder, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault and aggravated battery, and serious property crimes, such as burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.
The 2008 drop in overall crime continues a trend that began in our neighborhood in the mid-1990s with the introduction of community policing. Since 1994, index crime in the 24th District has fallen by over 50%.
The news is not all good, however. The statistics reveal an increase in violent index crime in the 24th District, mostly due to a sharp increase in robberies in the Howard Street area. The 24th District saw a 13.9% increase in violent index crime, including a 28.4% increase in robberies.
This spike in robberies and other violent crime led 24th District Police Commander David Sobczyk to launch his Howard Street anti-crime initiative, which includes an increased police presence and zero tolerance strategy in the Howard Street area. Commander Sobczyk just started his new job in January, and is determined to bring down the violent crime levels in our neighborhood.
Making our neighborhood safe is not just a police responsibility–it’s everyone’s responsibility. The safest neighborhoods are the neighborhoods where the residents get involved. I urge you to join the hundreds of community residents who attend CAPS meetings and who vigilantly report any incidents of crime and suspicious behavior. Neighborhood safety is truly a team effort, and the 49th Ward boasts the most active and committed citizenry of any ward in the city.
If you haven’t yet done so, I urge you to become involved with CAPS, Chicago’s community policing effort. Citizens meet with the police officers who patrol their neighborhood every month in each of the nine police beats in the 24th District. Together, the police and citizens identify neighborhood hotspots and develop crime reduction strategies.
Together, we will make the 49th Ward the safest ward in the city!