Tuesday, June 3, 2008

CAPS: Call, Call, Call

At tonight's Beat 2311 CAPS meeting, the police stressed that they aren't getting 911 calls about the gang and drug activity they see happening. The police are out there, they're making arrests... but the calls aren't coming in from the community. If you see any suspicious activity, make a call. You can remain anonymous. But we are the eyes and ears on our blocks. We need to let the police know when things aren't right.

23rd District Cmdr. Kathy Boehmer was the speaker at the meeting and she said that additional police units are being allocated to our district in light of the recent increase in activity.

Greg Harris, as well as the usual representative from his staff, attended the meeting due to all the community calls and emails his office has received expressing concern about the murder of Francis Oduro and heightened gang activity.

Anyone who wants to add more details about the meeting, please comment.


  1. Someone quite innocently asked if any representative from Alderman Helen Shiller's office was at the meeting tonight. Total silence afterwards.

    Residents from all walks of life were there at the meeting and all expressed concern about crime. I'm hoping Rep. Greg Harris noticed the concerns of the residents and the lack of concern on the alderman he endorsed.

  2. Someone quite innocently asked if any representative from Alderman Helen Shiller's office was at the meeting tonight. Total silence afterwards.

    And into the silence barks Kaplan: "You're just trying to embarrass her because you want a new alderman!"

    Yeah, Marc, the alderman doesn't bother to show up at a meeting of concerned residents after a murder... and it's OUR fault.

    Crackpot. On the other hand, the performance art is unbeatable!

  3. Rep. Harris endorsed Shiller?! Really.... rather amazing.
    Does he live in Uptown?

  4. The 23rd District Commander is a LIAR. I have repeatedly reported drug activity that I have witnessed and the responses I get are completely apathetic.

    I once called and told them the license plate of the car from which drugs were being sold and the corner where it was parked and a complete description of the 2 blacks selling. The response I got was "Gee, I don't know what to do with all that info...I'll have to ask the sargeant what to do."

    I once went to the precinct house with my digital camera loaded with photos of drug activity. They told me I should not be taking police matters into my own hands.

    I once flagged down a cop and pointed to the obvious drug selling happening on the next corner. He said, "We can't just take your word for it."

    The cops are useless because they are in on it. They WANT drug activity because they are on the take.

  5. just wanted to say keep up the good work guys. i moved to uptown back in april and i check the update regularly now. Its nice to be in a proactive community it such a fast paced city!

    looking forward to saturday!

  6. Imagine that, Shiller a no show. I'm sure she had something more important to do.

    I called 911 about some gang activity I saw near my home Sat. night. No one showed up. This is not my first experience like this. I will keep trying to call 911 but are the police even getting the call?

    I want to be supportive of the police. I hear 911 is not managed by CPD but by an outside vendor instead. Maybe that is where the communication gets lost.

  7. People aren't being persistent enough in calling 911. Whenever possible, leave your name address and phone number and request that that dispatch call you when police arrive at the scene. They can do this, and it will help ensure that your complaint is taken seriously!!

    If you're not comfortable doing that, fine, but keep calling anyway.

    And people, forget about Shiller. It's a waste of time complaining about her or trying to bring her into the picture. Just keep calling 911 (or start if you haven't!!!!!), join your block club, and start hanging outside more. Collectively the law-abiding residents of a problem street like Magnolia have so much more power than a hack like Shiller to effect change on their block. Start using it!

  8. You're making some pretty harsh claims about the police: that they give names to the gangs and that they're all on the take.

    What is your basis for this? Can you provide uniform numbers? Examples? Which district(s)?

    You also call the new commander a liar. Was she even in command when you went to the police?

    I've made many (many, many) 911 calls about crime in my neighborhood and the cops usually show up. Last weekend someone broke into an empty building and seven units showed up in response to a call (not mine, by the way). When I moved here, the CHA building down the street from me was a gang hangout, and now it is not.

    We can all point to bad cops, just as we can point to bad phone operators and bad store clerks. To paint them all with the brush you do is pretty unrealistic to me.

    What is your beef with them? You say a lot of harsh things, can you prove your accusations?

  9. At the CAPS meeting, when numerous people were asked about how to locate their block club rep, or complete a certain form, they were instructed to go to www.uptownupdate.com for the information.

    Did anyone see Marc Kaplan's face each time this website was mentioned? It must have been priceless.

  10. That's all very nice, saying "call call call" but a few weeks ago when I did just that after hearing a group of guys out on the street threatening each other ("You think just cuz you got a gun I'm gonna get scared and run away like some b***h?")... By the time the cops arrived they'd moved on, and the cop actually came up to my apartment, gave me attitude, and said he was told I had called about my "roommate" threatening ME. I hadn't said any such thing - I'd told the 911 operator that there were possible gang members out on the street threatening each other. So while the cop - who reeked of coffee, by the way - was borderline harassing me as if I'd interrupted something more important - the young men involved got farther away, and for all I know were never stopped or questioned or anything.

    I did not come away from the encounter with much motivation to ever bother the cops again.

  11. "caring neighbor" is a naive fool.

    The fact of the matter is that police only "respond" and that is the problem. Making some old lady feel self-satisfied by responding to a useless call about some losers hanging out in an abandoned building accomplishes nothing in the bigger picture of organized drug trafficking and gang activity.

    If the police were really committed to ending drug traffic and gang activity, they could ELIMINATE IT IN ONE DAY by sending the whole force out in attack mode rather than response mode and targeting and arresting or shooting every gang member in the neighborhood. Only that kind of strategic plan will permanently end undesirables taking over a neighborhood.

    Thinking that you are accomplishing something by making a cop leave the donut shop long enough to go check out some nonsense after it has already happened is just wishful thinking.

  12. Actually I do have to agree with some of the comments about the police not doing anything. I used to live in Uptown, but moved because I could see it wasn't going to get better. Anyway, people in my building called 911 on a daily basis. After a month or so of daily calls we had a knock on our door from two policemen asking why we kept calling. We mentioned watching non-stop drug dealing in front of our building. They told us that the drug dealers, loiterers, etc were here first and we should have known better than to move to Uptown I almost lost it at that point.

    I now live in Lakeview and I must say Helen is actually very responsive to all our needs. I now understand why she keeps getting elected...there are more people in the nice section of her ward.

  13. Dan I agree with you 100%. In every single case where I have reported suspicious or illegal activity, the cops have treated me like I was the criminal for bothering them. It amazes me that anyone ever gets arrested for anything, because the boredom and lack of interest exhibited by the cops makes it seem as though the only thing they care about is getting to the end of their shift.

  14. 9:17...I have experienced the exact same kind of thing from cops...one even said to me "That's life in the big city" and another said, "Why would anyone buy a home in this neighborhood?"

    What douchebags.

  15. if a cop asks why you move in to the neigbhorhood etc and do not take your complaints seriously,
    get the badge number and file a complain - I know in the past when we had problems in our area, once we took the action of getting the cops badge number etc and following up w a complaint - things changed rather rapidly.

  16. Oh. BOO HOO to all of you up there on the comments. The uniformed police don't show up when you call about "drug activity" .....
    ANd, HEAVEN forbid in UPTOWN that there is SOMETHING that is prioritized more than your call about the drug activity you saw. It's statistics, they get enough on your corner and they will look into it if they don't show up THAT time you called. KEEP CALLING !!!!!! DONT GIVE UP.

  17. Maybe we should keep our own internet log of calls made or something? I realize some of the calls are picked up by the guys doing the police blotters but during their (well-deserved) time off it is hard for people to see what is happening. Remember, police statistics only reflect when something is done. For example, I recently called in two people fighting in a local "hot spot" but the guys had disbanded by the time the cops showed up and the person who had been beaten up didn't want to do anything about it. The cop who responded was sort of shocked that I lived here. He was a nice enough guy but any beat cop should know that the middle aged guys wearing Cubs hats that they see aren't just passing through. We live here and whatever policing methods they have followed in the past here are no longer working...if they ever did.

  18. I stopped attending CAPS meetings because I realized that they were more or less a way to placate people who had had bad experiences in the neighborhood. Basically, they were venting sessions for residents. I was also really put off by on officer in particular who sits up there and smirks. In effect, his attitude seems disrespectful and it is clear we are just dumb suburbanites who can't hack it in the big city to him. The same stuff is repeated over and over again. This business about calling 911 all the time is just a response to residents' concerns and I really don't think it makes much of a difference. Come on! The cops know where the hot spots are--where gang activity is a given. They don't need us to inform them. The truth is that they can't or don't pursue this type of crime aggressively for whatever reason. Uptown residents should not in any way be made to feel that it is their fault crime is happening on their block due to not enough 911 calls.

  19. Bravo sugar magnolia! The cops do know the hot spots, but I think they are hampered by the powers that be. And it doesn't help to have groups like COURAJ preventing them from doing their jobs either.

  20. I am sorry to say that I was unable to make it to the meeting last night, but it sounded like a productive one with a good turnout.
    Personally, I have had good experiences with police in the area and have seen an increase in the police presence. For the people that are complaining about the police in this thread, did you actually go to the meeting and voice your concerns? Call me naive if you wish,I highly doubt that they are all on the take and could stop what is happening in one day as some of you claim.

  21. I see a number of comments here essentially making excuses for not making more 911 calls. Bulls***!!! Even if you believe it's not going to accomplish anything, make the 911 call anyway. At the very least it'll be recorded and added to the database of calls. The more 911 calls, the more resources we get.

  22. Real quick anyone since we're talking about calling the police....

    in the case of people hanging out at Dearborn foods (Montrose/Sheridan)...do we call 911 or 311 to complain?

  23. The criminals go to the caps meetings too.

    And it is just to placate the stupid public

  24. Call 911 about Dearborn Foods, the police have made it very clear at numerous 2322 CAPS meetings that it is not our job to evaluate the severity of the crime, only our responsibility to call it in and they will decide how it should be handled.

  25. "The criminals go to the caps meetings too."

    Why do you say that? Everyone I see is interested in what is going on and wanting their family to be safe. Do you seriously expect us to believe that career criminals jot down CAPS meeting dates in their pocket calendars? I mean, what the hell would THEY learn at these meetings?

    "Ohh sorry buddy, I can't help you break into that garage right now because I have a CAPS meeting I've got to get to."

    "Right, man, maybe we should just steal that bike over there instead and ride it on over to the meeting. We don't want to be late. Everyone will notice if we aren't there this time."

  26. I agree with Sugar Magnolia that there is a smirking cop who attends those meetings. I hate his guts.

  27. Re: Smirking cop

    As Ive written many times, the cops can tell you to call 911 all they want, but what they can't tell you are their true feelings: That middle-class folks are NUTS for choosing to live in Uptown, 0and for thinking they can actually change how nasty many parts of this neighborhood become after dark.

  28. Funny how all these anonymous comments saying the crime in Uptown will never-never-never ever-ever-ever change and that the cops are holding the neighborhood in contempt are coming -- for the first time -- ONE DAY AFTER COURAJ HAD ITS LITTLE DOG-AND-PONY "OOH, THE POLICE ARE BAD" SHOW in the community garden.

    Coincidence? You decide.

  29. He is probably smirking because he gets to go home to his little bungalow in one of select city neighborhoods where the cops, firefighters and patronage workers all live. He's probably thinking what we all know: you can't do real police work here because it is not worth your life, your career or your pension to have a run-in with the alderman and her people who will file a complaint against you for the slightest thing. So, you sort of do your job.

    Although it is insulting, I completely understand why he smirks. How many times could you sit through those meetings and listen to the same things yet not be able to say, "Listen up, ya babies! We're not your problem. Why don't you let us do our jobs the way we know how first and then complain if you don't like it! Our hands our tied yet you keep blaming us for the the crappy job someone else is having us do. We don't want to work this way either."

  30. Keep the insults to other commenters to a minimum. 'Kay? Because if this turns into a pissing match, and strays off-topic into insulting each other, comments will be deleted.

  31. 9:16

    "If the police were really committed to ending drug traffic and gang activity, they could ELIMINATE IT IN ONE DAY by sending the whole force out in attack mode rather than response mode and targeting and arresting or shooting every gang member in the neighborhood. Only that kind of strategic plan will permanently end undesirables taking over a neighborhood."

    Are you serious? Do you think the police have this kind of authority? Are you native to the United States? I can see this happening perhaps in the Urkrain, Israel or even Paris, but here in Chicago? Only the military would ever be deployed to do something this extreme, and it would be done on Presidential orders only.

    This would effectively be the same as the police declaring 'war' on the gangs and drug dealers, in our neighborhood, on our streets.

    Pick up a history book and read how dangerous Chicago was during the time the police were at 'war' with organized crime. That is just a small example of what happens when your drastic methods are deployed.

    To stop these gangs, and to stop these drug dealers, you have to cut the head off of the snake. Stop the source, stop the leaders, and the rest of it falls apart. That is what detective work is all about. Your tactic would do nothing but take out the little guys, and turn our streets into a bloody war zone. No thanks!

    As far as 12:32's post... I find your comments interesting. My husband has done the exact same things you are referring to, photos, license plates, calling with detailed descriptions, etc. Not only was he taken extremely seriously, but he was put in touch with, and given the cell phone number of a detective assigned to address the drug issues that were occurring on our block in particular. My husband was thanked for his vigilance, and was told this is EXACTLY the kind of help the police DO want from the residents. We are the ones that live there, we see this stuff everyday. The cops can't be everywhere at once. In order to stop crime, or be of any help, we need to be vocal and active about it ourselves!

    This was all last summer, when drug/gang activity was VERY high on our block. Not only did we personally witness this undercover tactical team take down drug deal after drug deal, on a weekly basis, we also worked with the detectives team who utilized our building to scope out the problem buildings around us, and monitor our 'hot' corner. The results? Even more busts.

    During one in particular, my husband received a phone call from the officer as he was making the bust we just called about. He said 'did you see where he stashed the drugs?' - "Yes sir, check his left shoe." - Needless to say, the look on this punk's face when he the cop told him to take his shoe off was priceless!"

    Within weeks after that, we noticed a significant DECREASE in gang and drug activity on our corner. Probably because the word got out to the dealers that this was getting too hot for them and they needed to move on.

    We will continue to work on keeping crime off of our block by being vigilante in reporting what we see. You can't expect the police to do everything for you. If you do get a cop on the phone who won't listen to you, get his badge number and name, if he won't give it to you, report him/her by telling the commissioner when the call was made (date, time) and if the person was male or female. These calls are recorded. Keep calling!

    I have called the police on several occassions, and not once have I ever been ignored or treated rudely. I simply state that what corner I'm complaining about, give a description of the youth (include hats and shoes, as many of them wear the same colors so they can't be picked out as the actual 'holder' by the police. But they typically don't wear the same shoes too.) I am detailed on what is happening, and what is being said. I am usually thanked and I see the police within minutes.

    I'm sure there are people that have not had a good response, but that doesn't mean you stop calling and give up. As poster 5:10 said, our neighborhood is OUR responsibility. Our Alderman has made it clear she is here to represent her agenda only, not to address the needs of her constituents (if those needs don't fit in with her plans). We can't wait like children for Mommy and Daddy to clean this mess up for us.

    If we want Uptown safe, that is up to US. The rally is a good start, hopefully the media will become interested and put some heat on our friend Shiller, as well as televising to any gangbanger and drug dealers that happen to see it that we ARE watching them, and we WON'T tolerate them.


  32. I am a new resident to Uptown and already an avid reader of the Update. Just wanted to submit the following scene that my husband saw last night at a townhome on the end of Sunnyside by Sheridan:

    Young residents across the street from us were having a get-together and enjoying the weather around 5-7. They were not drinking (at least, I didn't see any beer cans etc), not excessively loud, and were saying hello to neighbors and playing bags on the grass next to the sidewalk without obstructing the sidewalk.

    My husband told me around 7 that he saw cops had been called because the bags game was disturbing the peace. I'm not sure of all of the details, but the situation looked like whomever called the cops didn't bother to ask the people or warn them prior.

    It boggles my mind that I see drug dealers at the park down the street and no one is calling the cops (at least on a regular basis), but a neighborhood-friendly get-together is broken up immediately. I am not sure of the community rules around here, but I think good neighbors should kindly ask each other to stop doing something before calling the cops, especially if it is not dangerous, late at night, or ruining the community atmosphere.

    Also, kudos on the 911 comment. I called 911 one of our first nights in the neighborhood upon hearing a very aggressive and loud argument break out after midnight. The police responded immediately, and I was happy that the argument did not progress to violence.

    I think it is worth calling 911. Also, I recommend looking at http://uptowncrimeblotter.blogspot.com/ as our intrepid Uptown Updater blogged about recently.

    Finally, I get a regular email from SpotCrime that gives me all crimes reported within 5 miles of my residence. Maybe that would be a convincing argument for dispatch or any doubting person as to why one has called!

  33. Anissa, welcome to Uptown.

    Thank you for the information on SpotCrime. I just signed up for it.

  34. I just want to make clear that I was not intending to bash the police for the job they are doing. I have nothing but respect for them. Their job is not an easy one and crime is up. As in anything, some cops are better than others and I would bet that the smirking cop is probably a good one. I agree with poster 10:19 that their hands are tied and we, being civilians don't really know all the ways in which they are. Also to consider is that from what I hear, morale is pretty low in the department in general since Weis took over. You know, living in Uptown really makes a person feel like a teeny little player in a big political game. The issue with the police is just a part of that game. You can't really fault them too much. But, I also don't have to sit in my living room with my phone glued to my hand waiting for the next incident that warrents a 911 call to happen.

  35. Question: Is the whistling I hear often in the neighborhood a way for a lookout to communicate with someone further away? The whistles are very loud (not someone just whistlin' the day away or something) and sometimes there are patterns to them.

  36. The whistling are usually drug dealers. And its not just in Uptown. I lived in Lakeview (Diversey and Broadway area) for 7 years and we had a consistent "whistler" who would duck in and out of courtyard buildings to deal.

  37. Anon 2:31

    My understanding is yes, these whistles, yelps and other noises you are ARE signals. Some are signals from a watchout that police have been sighted. Some of them are the actual calling cards from the drug dealers themselves to their customers, letting them know 'shop is open.' I've seen this in action on my corner. One particular gents calling card is a long drawn out eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHH!!

    I notice that whenever that sound is made, that all the sudden more people show up and they 'hang out' on the corner. When I hear that noise, that is usually my call to watch what is going on outside, and call 911 with descriptions of both the sellers and the buyers. We definitely want to bust the buyers too, because if these dealers don't have customers, they won't be hanging out here.

  38. Kaplan was there but Shiller had not representative? Kaplan is Shiller's ward boss. He is her poltical street organizer. He is her petition circulator. He is her affadavit bully. He has been with operating under numerous numerous non-profit guises since her Heart of Uptown Coalition Days twenty years ago.

    She had a representative there. But, he was her political representative and he was there to disrupt. Just like the first days of CAPS. I remember it well.

  39. I hear these whistles around a building that has long had drug dealers in it. There is a nearby alley too. So, I can't tell exactly where the whistles are coming from. What should I do?

  40. No persistent? The same jack ass has been doing his shit for seven years on the same corner in the same car with the same license plate with the same clients.

    Every year at least 10 of us call 911, send photos of his face, his car, his license, his customers, his customer's cars, the transactions going down, and so forth. The police act each time like this is the very first time they've ever heard of such a thing! And then they play dumb about the law.

    We call it the Deaf, Blind, and Dumb 23rd District Police response.

  41. Anon 3:00

    I don't doubt that you have tried, and you're tired of trying. I'm sorry you haven't had the same results I and my husband have had. So, now what? It's time to move up the food chain. Do you happen to have dates of when you made those calls? If so, it's time for you to draft formal letters to the following:

    Kathleen Boehmer, Commander
    Office: 3600 N. Halsted St.
    Chicago, IL 60613

    Phone: (312)744-8320

    Mayor Richard M. Daley
    City of Chicago
    121 N LaSalle Street
    Chicago, IL 60602

    Here are other phone numbers that can be used other than 911. Tell these people that you have tried calling the police numerous times and they won't respond to you, that you have pictures, license plates, etc, and give them the typical days and times you see this happening:

    CRACK44 (Drug) Hotline: 800-CRACK44 (312-747-3673/TTY)

    Used for reporting information about individuals and locations involved in drug trafficking.

    Gang Hotline: 312-746-GANG (312-746-4276/TTY)

    Used for reporting information about gangs and gang-related activity.

    If 911 isn't working for you, there are other options. If there are police that aren't doing their job, the Mayor the Commander, and everyone else you can talk to needs to know about it. A nice letter to the Chicago Tribune, "What's your Problem?" May also shed a bit of light:

    John Yates - The Chicago Tribune:

    Good luck!

  42. Farrell thinking that "formal letters" to Boehmer or Daley are going to accomplish anything is just naive.

  43. Anon 4:47 and Anon 5:00

    Yes, you are both SO right! What was I thinking?

    We should just kill everyone we think is a gang banger and a drug dealer, no trial, no nothing. No more of that wussy stuff! Mow em all down!!! Yeeeee-HAW!

    And of course, I should realize that your tacticts of doing absolutely nothing but complain on a blog anonymously is SO much better than my stupid 'formal letters' idea. 'smacks head' Doing nothing but piss and moan about how the whole world is against us is working SOOOO much better.

  44. Oh, and Anon 5:00...

    What solutions do YOU propose? Since everyone else is 'naive' as you claim, you obviously must have some genius ideas as to what can be done to resolve these issues in Uptown? Or are you just part of the 'all play, no work' crowd?

  45. I have no sympathies for police officers who claim they cannot do their job because the alderman does not want them do do it or because of morale. Try that excuse in a private business and you'r have your ass kicked out the back door so quick your head would spin.

    Nope. They take and oath to serve and protect. They have this military chain of command that they rigidly follow (the thin blue line) when it suits them. So, why should they suddenly get to claim, "I can't follow orders. I only respond to political wishes. Balony. All they are doing is trying gain political brownie points to further their own careers at the police department and community's and taxpayer's expense.

    That type of lack of loyalty should not be excused or "understood". Anytime they are jammed up in a political situation they are always free to go to their bosses or intergovernmental affairs to have them intercede.

  46. I go to CAPS that all they say is call the police LOL I love it. that why I go just to hear them say it.I swear some people in the CAPS meeting live in there own little world one lady think uptown was the worst neighborhood please.
    whan I tell my friend were I live take notes they are "black" they LOL and say I live in a good neighborhood. they live on the south side of chicago so you know they see death everyday. I have not once seen anybody die so I guess am luck.

    So please I known you guys think that uptown is the worst kills, drug and gangs zone you ever lived but no its not it could be soooo bad you don't even known. You could live in fear of beening killed every time you walk out to have your run. I am black if I am not scared you should not be. I lived here for 20 years this uptown this is good it could be better. I use live rockwell projects when I was little I could not play outside for fear I would get shot. It was so bad I had to leave my toy outside whan my mom scream that they were shooting no this is not that bad at all.

    so pick your head up take a walk in uptown and watch news some time. you would see alot.

  47. On Wednesday the 4th, I spotted a man shouting and cursing at an elderly couple in the Walgreens parking lot. He was intimidating them because they asked him to move his van out of the hadicapped loadig area (so the man could get his wife out of the car). I called the cops and went over to see what the problem was. The man was verbally abusive and threatened violence against the couple and me. He gotinto his van and left. I decided to wait there for the squad. After 10 minutes, the man reemerged in the parking lot. I called 911 again and told them I had already called and that the man was back. The operator assured me that a patrol would be there in minutes.
    The man left after 15 more minutes of waiting, then I left too, with no trace of the squad that I was promised was "coming soon".

  48. I have not once seen anybody die so I guess am luck.

    No doubt there are worse places in the city, On Magnolia. But the point is that gun violence kills and it isn't acceptable PERIOD. The other point is that the 2 police districts hide the fact that most of the gun violence on the north side that kills or injures people is in Uptown (although Rogers Park has its fair share too). The police and the politicians are lying to us and insulting us when they say that this is the safest area in the City. Why should we stand for that when it might be some 8 year old kid killed next? When is OK to stand up and say ENOUGH? Tell me and I will put it in my appointment book.

  49. 6:55pm We walk by the Tattoo Factory on Broadway on our way to dinner at The Spot. 3 cops are sitting on the bench inside. One is smoking under the awning. Their car is parked in the alley. They are laughing and talking amongst themselves

    8pm. The same 4 cops are sitting on the bench in the Tattoo Factory as we walk by after dinner. They are laughing and talking amongst themselves

    Um, I guess all the crime problems in Uptown are solved. This is great news!!!