Public Safety Update - Arrest in Arson Case
Dangerous Conditions in Lake Michigan
Ticketing Resumed
Dear Neighbors,

It's an understatement to say that this has been a challenging year.

In general, the violence that has impacted so many neighborhoods has been relatively absent from our doorsteps, but the violence downtown and in communities so close to ours is profoundly disturbing and frustrating.

Here is an update about the status of crime in our ward, our public safety efforts, and the steps the city is taking downtown and citywide.

43rd Ward Crime

The 43rd Ward is split between two police Districts, the 18th (south of Fullerton) and the 19th (north of Fullerton). Our largely residential ward of 58,000 people sits north of the large entertainment and shopping areas of North Michigan Avenue and River North and south of the area around Wrigley Field. Here are the statistics that focus specifically on our ward:
You can see from the report for January 2020 - July 2020 that, year to date, we are seeing about the same number of carjackings, while all other major crimes are substantially down, resulting in a total decrease in overall crime. The chart shows you historical comparison of the statistics for years 2016-2020 to give you better context of year to year changes. You can see citywide and District data here. For definitions of the crimes, click here.

Arrest Made in Arson Case

As we reported last week, an arson occured on the 2600 block of Orchard at about 5:15 a.m. on July 30. Thanks to the great work of the 19th District, offender Juan Carlos Arias was taken into custody for questioning a half hour after the fire. Charges were not filed until after the investigation was complete. Arias also matches the description of the offender in other fires that occurred on June 29 in our area, but those cases are still being investigated. Arias is in custody, and our office will follow the case in court advocacy. Thanks to all the neighbors who cooperated with police. This arrest appears to solve the arson issues we have had in the last few months.

To assist police, we are using our aldermanic menu money to install city security cameras at locations selected by police and will continue add them.

Our local Commanders have assured me that they are maintaining "beat integrity" in our Ward - that is, our local police cars are remaining on their beats, and if a resident calls 911 for a response, local police will respond unless that particular car is handling another 911 call in the beat. If you feel that you have not received a timely response to a 911 call, please ask for a supervisor at 911, and please let us know. We follow up with the 911 Operations Center and in some cases, call takers are disciplined.

I am in regular communication with our police commanders, and we work together to increase public safety. Throughout this turbulent period, the districts communicated with me to ensure that the protests that were held in our ward were peaceful. Police accompanied the protestors to make sure that everyone was safe. Many ward residents, including teenagers, marched in these protests, and I am happy to report that no one was hurt, and police were generally treated with respect, even during protests at which the police were the object of the protest.

I also worked closely with Chicago Police and local private security hired by the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce that limited the damage to our ward during the weekend of break-ins and looting that damaged many downtown stores and violated many communities across Chicago.

The violence that has rocked our city and continues, however, is another matter. We all have seen the large increase in violence, as gangs use guns to settle scores, and others attempt to hijack peaceful protests to seek to harm police officers and our communities.

Our community is adjacent to Michigan Avenue, which was the scene of violent looting after recent protests, and more recently, a devastating daylight murder on Oak Street.

The victim, a 26-year-old rapper, appears to have been the object of gang retaliation, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Downtown and
City Wide Actions

To respond to these serious issues, the Chicago Police Department has created a new Critical Incident Response Team, which will provide rapid response to large-scale downtown events requiring Police attention. This team will supplement the 18th and 1st District downtown police when not covering large events, providing important resources to the commercial heart of Chicago.

My colleagues representing downtown and Streeterville, Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Brian Hopkins (2nd), have installed License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras at key intersections identified by the Police. Much local parking has been stripped in this area to discourage large parties downtown on the street. This is the same strategy we employed last year to keep dangerous gatherings off the lakefront by removing weekend night parking on Cannon Drive.

You will also see an increased visible police presence in the North Michigan Avenue area in the days and weeks ahead.

Federal Assistance
   
Mayor Lightfoot, working with US Attorney John Lausch, Jr. is leveraging additional resources from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Task Force to support the Chicago Police Department's efforts to conduct investigations into gangs, narcotics traffickers, violent offenders, and firearms traffickers. 

ATF has loaned the city its national Crime Gun Intelligence Mobile Command Vehicle to more quickly analyze spent shell casings which can more quickly identify guns used in crimes and link them to other offenses for prosecutions.

According to press reports, the effort is already leading to a surge in gun violence prosecutions. Federal prosecution has resulted in heavier and more reliable prosecution of gun offenders.
 
The Federal government has also appropriated $9.375 million to the Chicago Police Department to fund hiring of 75 police officers. 
Support for Police and the Community

Unfortunately, our police and citizens do not always receive the support they deserve in court. I remain constantly amazed that a state which prides itself on being the last state in the union to legalize conceal carry, has a very active anti-gun violence lobby which I support, and works hard to stop the flow of illegal weapons from outside our state, does not enforce mandated prison time for the crime of carrying an illegal weapon. But the bottom line is - unless we take people off the streets who are illegally carrying guns, as New York City has done - we won't make significant progress on the issue in the short run.

I will continue my efforts to reform juvenile justice by providing proper support to juveniles while at the same time making sure that gun cases are punished. We must also enhance punishment for adults who use juveniles to commit crimes because of the lighter penalties imposed on them.

Our Role as Neighbors

Our Chicago Police have always enjoyed a good relationship with neighbors in our ward, and have a history of collaboration. This has not always been true in other communities, but police have worked hard at this issue in our area. Cooperation with neighbors recently resulted in arrests for two tragic deaths just outside our ward: the shooting of a nine year old boy on July 31, and the shooting of three people, including an infant, on July 16.

In both cases, residents credited the actions of our 18th District police in building trusting relationships with community members, leading to quick arrests.

These examples highlight that cooperation is one of the most important parts of protecting our community. This is why we must call 911.

Unfortunately, we from time to time hear from constituents that they chose not to call 911, even if they were a victim of crime or witnessed a crime. The reluctance generally emanates from a fear of reprisal or a desire not to be inconvenienced - but this is a false choice.

As Alderman, I do not have the power to direct police resources. When a constituent fails to report a crime, the police do not recognize it as happening. This deprives our community of resources. Moreover, you can call 911 anonymously and report a crime, especially one in progress.

To partner with our local police, please:

  • Call 911 whenever you feel you witness something suspicious in the neighborhood and provide as detailed a description as you can

  • Ask for a block safety evaluation - our local CAPS officers will gladly work with your block and our office to make improvements to increase safety

  • Install exterior cameras on your home and alley

  • Join our court advocacy team - and send the signal that crime is not tolerated in our ward. Email Rocio@ward43.org and she will send you details about how to join.

Long Term Solutions - Invest in Our City

It may seem like a paradox to support investment in communities wracked by violence. As we know, safety is the most important attribute of a community. Experience tells us that investment always leads to safety. Our own community is an example. In the '70s, when Lincoln Park was in the earlier stage of gentrification, our community banded together to stop violence and drug sales. And some gangs turned into community organizations demanding investment in communities of color. Gentrification happened, but investment in other communities was and has been too little.

We must do both. I support efforts, such as Invest South/West, the Mayor's effort to bring investment to long ignored communities, and encourage business and developers based in our ward to participate. At the same time, all gun offenses must be strictly punished, to protect residents of those communities from violence which all-too-often claims innocent lives. Our community should also support the work of violence-interruption organizations.

Our city has, over the last 30 years, reduced violent crime. Using all the tools at our command, we can get work together to stop this frightening trend towards violence.

Stay vigilant and help keep the community safe.
Use Caution at
Lake Michigan

Dangerous currents and high waves continue on Lake Michigan. The city and the National Weather Service (NWS) advised people to stay out of the water after a teen went missing.

The lake is at record high levels and the NWS described the currents as "life threatening."

Please stay out of the water.
Ticketing has Resumed

Please remember that ticketing has resumed for city sticker, residential parking permits, and for street sweeping. Please make sure your sticker is displayed and that you have enough parking permits.

Buying City Stickers and Parking Passes on-line is convenient and you can order 24 hours a day at ezbuy.chicityclerk.com.

You can learn how to order online by using our Guest Parking Passes 101 guide or
watch our video below for step-by-step details on how to purchase your passes or stickers online.
Beware of Unemployment Insurance Fraud

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) is asking for our help to combat Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fraud/Identity Theft. If you become a victim of UI Fraud/Identity Theft, contact IDES at (800) 814-0513 or use this form. Using both methods of reporting may cause delays in reviewing your case.

Identity thieves and hackers use stolen identities to commit fraud – fake tax returns, obtain credit cards, etc., and criminals use stolen identities to defraud public assistance programs. This criminal activity is so pervasive that federal rules require Illinois to have staff dedicated to preventing and discovering fraud in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system.

Ways to spot unemployment insurance identity theft

  • You receive a debit card or an unemployment insurance letter (UI Finding) and has not filed a claim for benefits.
  • You are notified by your employer that a claim for benefits has been filed when you have not been separated from employment.
  • You attempt to file a claim online and one already exits.
  • You receive IRS correspondence regarding unreported UI benefits.
  • You receive notice of a State or Federal tax offset.

What steps should you take if you receive a debit card and did not file for unemployment insurance?

If you suspect a claim has been submitted using your information, and you have not applied for unemployment insurance benefits in Illinois, take steps as follows:

  • Call IDES' Benefit Payment Control Division at (800) 814-0513. Follow the prompts for "claimant" and the "identity theft."
  • DO NOT activate the debit card that was mailed to you.
  • DO NOT contact KeyBank.
  • Destroy the card.
  • Request your free credit reports via www.annualcreditreport.com and review them for other fraudulent activities.

You can learn more here.
Outdoor Dining Options This Weekend
Feast on Lincoln
Saturday 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Catch a coffee and bagel Sunday morning, a pita for lunch and evenings in a socially-distanced and safe setting at these restaurants:

Patio on Schubert
Friday 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Saturday 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Neighborhood favorites Sapori Trattoria, Tandoor Charhouse, and Mayan Palace have a spot reserved for you on Schubert this weekend.
What's Open for Business?

Neighborhood shops are open, and some retailers on Armitage are having sales this weekend. Shops are using safe practices - so let's get off the internet and shop in person (wearing a mask, of course). Please send us an email at yourvoice@ward43.org and let us know you're open for business!
Support our Neighborhood Restaurants

So many of our restaurants have outdoor options, and all have great delivery and carryout menus. Try to order directly from the restaurant. Have we missed anyone who is open? Let us know.
Keep wearing your masks and stay safe!






43rd Ward Virtual Office Hours: M - F 9 AM - 5 PM 
 2523 N Halsted | 773-348-9500 yourvoice@ward43.org www.ward43.org