Questions for the Commanders
Our survey participants listed a variety of questions they would like to ask the Commander. Most responses fell into three categories:
- Concern over lack of police presence and whether resources are diverted from the Ward along with a call for increased foot patrols
- Perception that violent crime is rising, especially during the daytime
- Desire to learn what residents can do to help reduce crime
We asked these questions during our meetings. The following is a synopsis of safety meeting remarks from Commanders Buslick (19th District) and Bauer (18th District) and panel members representing the 911 Center, Cook County States Attorney and Detectives assigned to the 43rd Ward.
Both Commanders stated that resources are not being diverted from our Ward. In fact, because both the 18th and 19th District have many large public events (Michigan Avenue, North Avenue Beach and Wrigley Field, etc...), additional police resources are often brought into these districts, leaving local officers on the beat. Tactical teams are never pulled or detailed out of the Ward.
Foot patrols, while reassuring to residents, are a tool, not a solution, according to Commander Bauer. Squad cars and undercover officers are more omnipresent, less predictable and more effective in fighting crime. Bike patrols have been stepped up at the lake and more officers will be seen in Oz Park, the beach and other areas, such as around
Lincoln Park High School, as the weather warms up.
The Commanders said traffic stops are up and are effective as criminals hate having license or insurance checks run.
While police do respond in person to property theft from homes, they do not come out for incidents involving theft from a garage. Please call 911 to file a report, as this helps police understand potential patterns of crime. Police response times to 911 calls from our ward have been requested.
Is Violent Crime Increasing?
The Commanders feel social media plays a large role in contributing to the public perception that crime is increasing, but also helps alert neighbors to suspicious activity and informs residents, especially about crimes beyond the immediate neighborhood. Local block email chains and community group newsletters that span ward boundaries are tremendous resources to help keep us engaged and aware.
In general, property crime is up in the 18th District, which covers the North Side from North Michigan Avenue to Fullerton. In our beats,
while property crime is up, a recent arrest of an offender for a rash of thefts at a fitness club on North Avenue may ameliorate the situation. Burglaries in the two beats that are part of the 19th Police District (north of Fullerton) are down.
The Police Department maintains that daytime crime is not surging and the Ward remains one of the safest in the city. Arrests, they say, have increased or are on par with one year ago. While there were 34 total robberies in February and March in the 18th District, there was only one in each of the four Lincoln Park beats. The vast majority of robberies occur between 10 PM and 6 AM. About half of all robberies involved a threatened use of a firearm.
One sixth of all liquor licenses in Chicago are located in the 18th District. This concentration results in more citations issued against bars for underage drinking than in any part of the city.
Concerning sexual crimes against women, the commanders state that most attackers are known by their victim. Rarely is a stranger predator seeking out a victim within the Ward, as happened
. That case is still under investigation.
What we can do to protect ourselves - "Hardening the Target"
Panel participants stressed that we can do a lot to prevent crime. The vast majority of the crime in our Ward is a result of an opportunity presented to a criminal, usually an open back door or garage. The panel made the following recommendations, also reported by
To help prevent burglaries:
- Criminals hate nosy neighbors - listen to your instincts, stay alert and call 911 about suspicious or unusual behavior. A call to 911 will bring squad cars to the area.
- Remove keys, packages and valuables from plain view in your car
- Never leave the engine running and then get out of the car
- Lock your doors, windows and garages - upgrade locks and your door frame if necessary
- Replace burned out bulbs on your home exterior lighting - and leave the porch and garage light on to help your neighbors
- Call 311 or our office when streetlights are out
- Make sure surveillance equipment is recording and you know how to retrieve pictures
- Update cameras purchased over 5 years ago
- Take photos and keep serial numbers of major items
- Move your trash cans into your garage - cans could be used to jump over your fence
To keep yourself safe:
- Verify the identity of Uber and Lyft drivers before getting in a vehicle
- Walk the other direction or go to a more public area if you feel uncomfortable while walking at night. At night, walk in the middle of the street right under the lights.
Finally, to get the most current detailed information about your area, attend Community Policing Meetings (CAPS) beat meetings. You can find the scheduled dates
My office will continue to advocate for appropriate police resources, partner with the police and assist community efforts to increase our safety together.