Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Police Camera Needed At Wilson And Magnolia

We heard that a hot topic at tonight's Beat 2311 CAPS Meeting at Truman College were police cameras, and why the camera at Wilson and Magnolia was removed and installed at Wilson and Sheridan. Many residents on Magnolia voiced concern over the gang-bangers that congregate at the Food Mart in the Wilson-Magnolia Mall and noted a direct spike in criminal activity now that the camera moved. We applaud the fact that both State Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Greg Harris were at the meeting. We think a great start would be to email both Steans and Harris (click their name for direct email link) to let them know that you think a camera is needed in this area. The cables are still hanging on the light pole so half the work of re-installing the camera is already done! Any other folks that need to be specifically contacted in the Chicago Police Department? Add their contact info in the comments and we will update this post. Wilson and Magnolia, as well as the Sunnyside Mall are definite hot-beds for crime and a camera is badly needed here. Let your voice be heard!

Someone in the know informed us that Uptown has only ONE of the TWO police cameras that could be installed in our neighborhood. We need to flood both Kathleen Boehmer and the 23rd district with emails and phone calls letting them know we need another police camera at either Wilson and Magnolia OR Lawrence and Sheridan.
The number for the 23rd District office is: 312-744-8320
Email: 23districtehotline@chicagopolice.org


  1. I stand corrected.

    Good on Heather for putting some shoe leather underneath her word.

    One doesn't see much of that 'round here.

    Greg is also showing himself to be responsive to the community.

    One doesn't see much of that, either.

    It will take a lot more to get me to support Steans; but, showing up is a step in the right direction.

  2. She was actually giving out her card to people and telling them to contact her. I didn't vote for her, but I have to say I was very impressed.

    I was also impressed by Greg Harris showing up in person, even though his rep attends every CAPS meeting in the area.

    What a change to have responsive and attentive public officials! Yes, Helen, this means YOU.

  3. Returning the police camera would probably help. What will help even more is postive foot traffic along Magnolia and good neighbors spending more time outside in the evenings. The more law abiding citizens out there, the more uncomfortable it is for the drug crews.

  4. Also it would help if the food mart didn't sell gang starter kits. With the White shirts,the bling, and the loose shwisher sweets.

    Ho's up G's down!

  5. As I stated I would in previous posts, I decided to take up Sen. Steans on her offer to meet and report back to Uptown Update.

    So, last night before the CAPS meeting at Truman College, a representative group of concerned neighbors from up and down Malden and Magnolia (north and south of Wilson) ... gay, straight, renters, owners, parents, non-parents, amele, female ... had a private meeting with Sen. Steans and Rep. Harris to discuss the gang violence and crime in our neighborhoods. It was an excellent meeting! Both Sen. Steans and Rep. Harris were very attentive, asked great questions about why some of these things have been happening in our ward, gave us really good advice on some next steps, and have several items that they are following up on to report back to our group. I will share additional information in the coming weeks when I receive more information from them.

    In the meantime, Sen. Steans offered to also come to other neighborhood meetings and to help organize neighborhood community watch groups.

    Rep. Harris mentioned that in regards to police cameras...each ward is automatically given two by the police department for free. He mentioned that each alderman has a very large discretionary fund that allows them to purchase additional police cameras (as many as they like). We all know that it is unlikely that alderman Shiller will use "her" discretionary funds for such a use (I'd love to know what she uses her extra money for). Rep. Harris also noted how important it is to keep calling 911 and to report the addresses of problem buildings. Often times the gang bangers can be from other areas of the city but they are using the buildings for their activity, so knowing the addresses allows authorities an opportunity to investigate and screen out the culprits.

    We also discussed the fact that though the alderman's office is quick to report low crime statistics, that these do not count for the nightly shootings outside our windows, consistent drug trafficking, etc. that do not culminate in arrests ... which in my experience accounts for most of the 911 calls. It is insulting to state that because not enough people got hit by a bullet or killed that the bullets flying around our neighborhoods don't count in the crime statistics.

    The group that met with her was not affiliated with any political organization. I put out the word to some of my neighbors up and down the street that I wanted a representative group of concerned neighbors who were frustrated with the upswing in gang violence and crime in our neighborhoods and wanted to do something positive to help change the situation. I met many of the people for the first time at the meeting and I was pleased at the cross-section of the representatives.

    I want to also note that Sen. Steans Chief of Staff Jen Wallings is awesome about responding and setting up meetings and that Sen. Steans herself was often directly corresponding with me in advance.

    A final thank you to Rob at Unique So Chique on Wilson and Magnolia to allow us to use part of his restaurant for our group to meet with Sen. Steans and Rep. Harris.

    Personally, I can not say enough about how impressed I am with both Sen. Steans and Rep. Harris at this point.

  6. I might suggest a heavy use of 311 as well. I am in Truman Square and am calling almost daily about the upsurge in graffiti, whether it be on Sheridan, Wilson, etc. I have reported graffiti on light poles, fences, newspaper boxes and even the sidewalk...

    I truly hope my fellow Uptowners are doing the same.... It is these smaller quality of life things that can really make a larger difference in our community.

  7. I echo the point of TJM. I was at the meeting. It was a great start to solving our crime problems here in Uptown. Both Sen Steans and Rep Harris were really open to ideas and suggestions on how to takle these issues.

    It was a positive step in the right direction.

  8. Thanks for the update, tjm.

    The cynic in me is still curious about a few things, but results are results.

    Steans is taking the proper steps, talking to the right people and doing a heck of a lot more than some other elected folks around here that I could (but need not) mention.

    I definitely owe you a beer.

    (if cameras start sprouting in Uptown, I'll even throw in an appetizer).

  9. FYI on Senator Steans. She's 'brand' new. She needs as much support as she can get.

    It's good that she is reaching out to the concerns of local residents. But don't be afraid to challenge her. She's taking good steps now, but she can pull the rug out from under you.

    You need to use a time constraint to hold Senator Steans accountable. Press her. Putting in a camera should take no longer than 30 days. The machine will delay this as long as possible, but Steans can use her Senatorial toolbox to tighten any nuts she wants.

  10. TJM, thanks for the long and informative post. Maybe it's just from years of frustration with not being heard by public officials, but it just makes me ridiculously grateful to Steans and Harris for holding this meeting in response to residents' concerns.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend the meeting and then come to CAPS.

    I recognized some of the speakers from a Crimewatch segment a couple years ago, where residents of the SRO got together to work with the minimart at Magnolia Plaza. Shiller was there looking uncomfortable, praising the citizens for (scrunching up her face like she'd smelled something vile) working with CAPS. It was at this shoot that many people heard her denigrate CAPS when the cameras weren't rolling.

  11. So let me get this straight, a State Senator and Representative had a sit down meeting with local residents, while our Alderman had people brandishing baseball bats in her office while she snuck out and dodged a group of peaceful protesters. Makes you wonder.....

  12. What would the big deal be about installing a camera anyway? Hell, they're all over the place now and they city wouldn't think to put one in an area where a high profile killing occured only a short time ago??? Somebody tell there are a lot of speeders driving through the area. The thought of all those moving violation tickets will get the city salivating. The camera will be up yesterday.

  13. The drug dealing, gangs and crime are out of control in Uptown and last night's CAPS meeting was a United Nations of outraged residents.

    The high-rise building on Magnolia
    behind the Wilson strip mall has a contigency of concerned male residents who talked about the open air drug dealing operation in their lobby. They talked about the swarms of drug dealers up and down Magnolia, especially the infamous Sunnyside Mall.

    Yes, it was great to see Sterns and Harris there last night. They obviously care and understand the Uptown is exploding with gangs and drugs doing their business.

    We won't solve this problem overnight, but we will clean out the drug dealers by coming together and taking back our neighborhood.

    Get to know your neighbors, join your block club. GWNA needs a new board and welcomes all to join. Contact gwnainfo@gmail.com if you want more information. Boundaries are Broadway to Beacon, Montrose to Wilson.

    We've identified 3 active gang members who deal drugs out of Voice of the People apartments. Steps are being taken to remove them and the tenants who harbor these criminals who realize we're a Gang-free & Drug-Free community.
    The times they are a changing.

  14. TJM--I live on Magnolia across from the Sunnyside Mall and would have loved to have participated in the meeting held by concerned residents last night. I didn't know about it, even though I check the blog every day (at least 5 times). Is there a mailing list or some way to find out what's going on so I can come to the next one?

  15. "We also discussed the fact that though the alderman's office is quick to report low crime statistics, that these do not count for the nightly shootings outside our windows, consistent drug trafficking, etc."

    I'm curious to know what their response was to this?

  16. Sugar Magnolia (re: "Is there a mailing list or some way to find out what's going on so I can come to the next one?") --go back to previous posts on UU--the one that leads with a story about Sen. Steans letter to a concerned resident about gang violence in Uptown. You will see my (TJM) posts there that I intended to take her up on her offer and thus I arranged a personal meeting with Sen. Steans. This was set up by me personally and I quietly solicited a small representative group from surrounding blocks to join me. Given we only had an hour, I did not want to make "my" meeting into a large community meeting or overwhelm her with a community gripe fest and/or go off topic. As I stated previously those who met did not represent a political organization, or a block club, etc. ... we were just a few fed-up citizens who asked to speak with their state senator and she readily obliged. To further clarify, I could have just met with her myself (which she was willing to do), but I wanted some varying perspectives to be shared beyond just my personal experiences.

    As I also stated in those previous posts I encouraged others (especially the skeptics) to contact the Senator if they wanted to discuss similar or other topics and/or arrange their own meeting with her.

    I hope this helps clarify why no one other than a small group of concerned neighbors knew about the meeting I arranged in advance.

  17. ltn318 in response to: "We also discussed the fact that though the alderman's office is quick to report low crime statistics, that these do not count for the nightly shootings outside our windows, consistent drug trafficking, etc."I'm curious to know what their response was to this?

    They agreed that there are another set of statistics related to 911 calls and areas where they (911 calls)are concentrated and that these are a "higher level" of statistics that need to be reviewed. I believe they were going to solicit a report from the police in this regard.

  18. MOTS, you got that right. If there was a way to make revenue from the camera, the city would have it up overnight. Red light cameras have sprouted up likes weeds. But a camera to control crime? Nah, that would COST money!

  19. Please email the 23rd District Office at the email address added to the original post. Emailing Jody Weis would help as well. Does anyone know what it is?