"I want to inform you of a shooting that occurred early this morning at around 2am on the 4700 block of N. Winthrop (Police Beat 2312). It's believed that the 20-year-old male is from the area and died immediately from his head wound. The 23rd District police believe the crime is related to gang activity in the area that evening. Our hearts go out to the family of this young man.
Commander Boehmer notified me within an hour of this incident. Given other recent shootings, I want to respond to questions that many of you have expressed.
Below are some of the questions I have received and some answers regarding the recent increase in shootings. Please find these and additional questions on my website by clicking here. [UU Note: There's a lot of good information at this link, much more than in the mailing, addressing a lot of questions that commenters have raised on UU. We recommend reading the entire thing on the website.]
Question: Gang-related crime usually goes down in colder months. What's the reason for the increase in gang violence in Uptown during this time of year?
Compared to last year, there is a decrease in shootings, but one shooting is still too many. However, there is usually less gunfire during this time of year. Here are a couple of possible factors:
- A number of gang members arrested in some local drug busts are being released out of prison in the last few months, and they are in the midst of re-establishing their presence in the neighborhood.
- It's becoming more difficult for gangs to do their drug sales in wider open areas and they are now in turf wars in smaller compact areas, leading to more tension.
Question: Are the police cameras not helpful in reducing crime?
There is some deterrence with the use of police cameras, but the most productive use for these cameras is to help resolve crime.
Question: Where are the crime hotspots?
The 46th Ward Office worked with the Commanders of the 20th and 23rd Police Districts to identify five hot spots in the 46th Ward. Out of respect for property and business owners who want the value of their property protected, we will not publicize this information. For more information about what I am doing to address crime in hotspots, check out the 46th Ward's Master Plan by clicking here.
Question: Why can't the Alderman get more police walking the streets?
I do not have the authority to tell Commanders and the Police Superintendent how to do police work. Nor should I. The job of any alderman is to provide the necessary support for the police to do their job. As Alderman, I meet with the Commanders from both the 20th and 23rd Police Districts to provide them with the needed support to address the Ward's crime hot spots, problem buildings, and individuals with especially high rates of arrests.
Question: What do I do if I believe the police aren't being respectful toward members of the community?
The City has set up a program that specifically deals with issues residents have with the police. It's called the Independent Police Review Authority. For more information about them and the process they use to review your concerns, click here. If you have complaints about the Independent Police Review Authority, please don't hesitate to contact me by clicking here.
Question: How do I find out about CAPS in my area?
Each week, the 46th Ward Office sends out a notice about upcoming events including CAPS meetings. For more information about beat maps, locations, and times of any CAPS Beat meeting in the 46th Ward, click here.
Question: Wouldn't having more things for youth to do after school help reduce gang activity?
I am strongly supportive of youth programs that give kids more opportunities after school. We are finding that some kids in our neighborhoods are not taking advantage of programming at their local schools, the Parks Department, the Boys & Girls Club, Alternatives, and programs within their residential buildings. The 46th Ward Office wants to partner with these programs to see what can be done to encourage kids and parents to take more advantage of them.
Question: What's being done to address crime related to students in high school?
The Mayor, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Superintendent of Police are rolling out a new program that has the local schools working more closely with the police and the religious leaders in the area. It is currently being tried out in a few schools and will be expanded at a later date. For more details about this plan, click here. I also strongly believe that the community needs to be responsible for the kids in their neighborhoods. I and others from concerned groups in the community have been patrolling streets near Uplift to make sure the kids attending the high school feel safe on their way home.
Other general observations about crime
There are many causes for crime that will call for many solutions. The best solutions will personally involve community residents. It was my concern about crime that originally led me to get very involved with the community.
While it is the goal of my office and the police to solve crime on many levels, your involvement is key. The CAPS Program remains one of the best places to do problem-solving with the Police and the Alderman's Office. Someone from my office attends all CAPS meetings within the 46th Ward. Should you have other questions or concerns, they are available at the meeting to assist you."