Residents and business owners of Chicago’s 19th district this week will have the opportunity to address police directly through a series of community conversations after a string of recent violent crime — from carjackings, to armed robberies, to abductions — has left the neighborhood on edge.
“Like anyone that lives in the area, I’ve been following what’s been happening with public safety,” said State Rep. Ann Williams Tuesday at one such event. “We’re all extremely concerned.”
The virtual and in-person events, hosted by police and dubbed “Conversations With a Commander” are intended to gather public input to help develop a strategic plan around public safety for next year.
According to police data, robberies in the district — which includes parts of Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Wrigleyville — are up 48% over last year. Overall, crime in the district is up 66%.
Earlier this year, a 23-year-old man walking in Lincoln Park overnight was nearly killed after being shot at close range during a armed robbery. Last month, a doorbell camera captured the moment a woman was violently robbed in broad daylight while walking down a Lakeview street.
And just last week, authorities say there were at least five different incidents of people near Wrigley Field being forced into cars at gunpoint before being robbed of their belongings. Chicago police are still searching for the gunmen responsible.
“I think people always want to feel law enforcement is able to do its job effectively, efficiently and actually solve these crimes,” Williams, who is running for reelection, said Tuesday.
Ad. Tom Tunney, whose 44th Ward includes many of the neighborhoods in the North Side district, last week in his newsletter indicated that he has requested multiple times that Chicago police increase patrols in the area.
“These recent crimes point out the need to have additional police coverage in our entertainment areas along Clark and Halsted,” said Tunney, who is also mulling a potential mayoral run. “I have called CPD leadership and reiterated the request I have made numerous times that they increase the number of police officers assigned to the 19th District. Short-term, I told them they need to deploy officers to our area for the Halloween weekend.”
Chicago police would not confirm if more patrols have been added, but says the department regularly reviews and adjusts resources to ensure sufficient staffing.
CPD will provide two more “Conversations With a Commander” events for residents and business owners to attend this week. The first takes place virtually from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, and the second is scheduled as an in-person event, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at the 19th district police station, located at 850 West Addison.
Both events are open to the public. -NBC