August 12, 2008

Crimes Up/Arrests Are Down

According to the Sun-Times article there have been no performance evaluations since 2002 – meanwhile crime is spiking upward and arrests are down. We heard the ‘fear of the people complaints’ this summer at a CAPS meeting. I’m not sure how many times I heard the slogan “I’m not going to lose my house” during that meeting. While I can understand part of the issue stemming from the pursuit of lawsuits from hang nails to real issues, there are day to day issues I can’t quite grasp.

One issue is the 911 dispatchers who feel compelled to argue with the caller(s). Unless one owns a scanner, one never knows if the call really went through or was trash-canned. Another problem, commenter Bosworth repeatedly points out, are the open-view violations: consumption of alcohol, gambling, drug dealing, etc. in the park(s). ALL of us complain about the trash strewn by adults and children on the sidewalks. Littering has a fine attached to it if ticketed and the decibel law is still on the books. While I was told they fine these loud cars, I’ve yet to see any numbers given in a CAPS meeting.

The old argument of big crime vs little crime, time allocation etc. wears on and on. Then why not bring back the ‘outpost’ they had years ago? The temporary outpost was on the corner where DevCorp used to be at Greenview, Rogers and Howard. The wagon sat there as did assigned officers. From what I gathered, those arrested would be brought to the outpost, the paperwork was done there to save time, and the squads could roll on to gather more. Periodically, ‘the wagon’ would take the arrestees to the station. That was years before my arrival.

The other issue is the aldermans problem to fix. His promise to keep affordable housing – in one concentrated area. Before promoting any 30 year agreement, he could have, should have added a few contingencies regarding proper management and enforcement of HUD rules. Instead, it’s dumped on the neighbors and the police to deal with. The law-abiding, quiet tenants are usually too intimidated to speak up. If they do, they're threatened with 'you could lose your lease' from some building managers. Not much can be done with managements little tyrannies in the buildings; the police can’t do much except stop loitering unless they have warrants. When building security allegedly tells complainers that if people live in the building it’s OK to hang out in front - what message is conveyed? Right…20-30 people milling about at midnight, loud car radios blasting, drive up dealing, are all covered by inept security. Then there are the gunshots heard in the night....

My point is: If repeated attention was given to the public drinking, dice, dealing and other behaviors in the parks and in front of known problem buildings - the chances are some problem people (or their parents) would get tired of paying fines and cease and desist.

From the Sun-Times article:

“But Cuello said she could not attribute this year's 14 percent decrease in arrests to an intentional slowdown by officers.

"Morale is not what the people are making it out to be," Cuello said. "There is an adjustment period in any organization."

Because cops are focusing on violent crime, arrests have slipped for less serious crime like disorderly conduct, trespassing and public drinking, Cuello said. Arrests for violent crimes do not seem to have fallen as much, she said.

Chicago cops have made about 120,000 arrests through Monday compared with about 140,000 for the same period of 2007.” Source

It's about time for a big round table discussion for North of Howard. The police can't be held accountable for every piddling thing - so let's get problem buildings management, their security, the police, the alderman, and iron out some real rules - and enforce them.

Then they can hold the same town hall meeting in every pocket with problems in Rogers Park.


Bosworth said...

There's a CAPS meeting this Thursday. I'm eager to hear the reasons given this month for the unsolved ongoing issues.

Isaac Marshall said...

If the police were to enforce laws such as littering, drinking in public, and traffic violations in areas like NOH there would be calls of racism on the part of the police department. The city would not back the police department on these issues.

No one will stand up to the racism complaints and say to these people that such incidents are far less frequent in other communities(I'm sure traffic violations are bad everywhere, but not as bad as NOH).