Chicago Police Department’s 19th District is hosting “Conversations with a Commander” to gather public input and develop a strategic plan for the next year as high-profile crimes impact the North Side.
At a meeting in Lincoln Park on Tuesday, community members were asked to ask questions and provide feedback to police about issues affecting their businesses and their lives.
“Any time we can have a relationship with the Chicago police, being able to talk about what’s going on right now, that’s really positive,” said Robin Hammond, vice president of the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a great direct way to say ‘something is going on, what can we tell our businesses, is there another way we can partner up.'”
Public safety is a priority for many residents following a wave of violent crime in the area.
In one case, Chicago police are still on the hunt for the gunmen who forced people into cars and robbed them on a stretch of North Clark Street earlier this month. At least five incidents were reported in one weekend.
Chicago Ald. Tom Tunney says he asked the police for more help.
“These recent crimes underscore the need for additional police coverage in our entertainment areas along Clark and Halsted,” said Tunney, who is also considering a possible mayoral race. “I called the CPD leadership and reiterated the request I have made many times to increase the number of police assigned to the 19th District. In the short term, I told them that they must deploy police to our area for Halloween weekend.”
Chicago police would not confirm whether more patrols have been added, but says the department regularly reviews and adjusts resources to ensure sufficient numbers.
According to police data, overall crime is up 66% in the 19th arrondissement.
“I think people still want to feel that law enforcement is able to do their job effectively, efficiently, and actually solve these crimes,” said state Rep. Ann Williams.
Williams, who is running for re-election, attended Tuesday’s meeting and says her biggest takeaway is the importance of improving technology.
“[What] I will remind the General Assembly that we need to ensure that the police have the tools and the resources, including the technology, to really help them do their job as effectively as possible,” she said. “It allows officers to focus on criminal activity, finding cars after carjacking, taking actions that they couldn’t do with officers alone. This technology is really essential.”
The CPD will provide another opportunity for “community conversation” during a virtual meeting Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., and during an in-person meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the 19th District Police Station, located at 850 West Addison.
Both events are open to the public.