On February 26th we held a Crime Workshop attended by approximately 100 neighbors. I went through a 10-point plan of what we can do as a neighborhood to better help protect us, outside of Chicago Police protection.
While crime is pretty flat in Chicago over the past few years, crime in the 43rd ward is way up and many are asking why. One of the contributing factors is juvenile crime. Laws that were changed in the past two years have required police and judges to stop holding or trying juveniles. In an attempt to not strap a felony on them and get them stuck in the system, juveniles that are caught committing crimes (even with guns) are captured and then quickly released. The release can happen as soon as that evening or sometimes the next morning without being charged and tried. In many cases, for gun and violent related crimes, juveniles are not being tried as adults and many of the juveniles are being directed by adults to commit the crime because they are aware of these laws. This even applies to repeat offenders.
At the Crime Workshop a judge and police officer attested to the fact that this is making their jobs very difficult and as they said, “it’s madness”. I asked for a simple hand vote and only one person was in favor of the “capture and release” policy. Most attendees were shocked, since they were unaware of these new laws and were NOT in favor of them. Also, it was brought to our attention that bail laws have also been changed and the new policy is “bail you can afford”. This is also putting potential repeat offenders back on the streets until trial. Again, attendees were shocked.
The meeting was a huge success and led to the Board creating an Ad Hoc committee on crime which I will be chairing along with Karen Pfendler. The 10-point plan is included in this newsletter along with feedback from the meeting. My policy is that if you want to reduce crime in our neighborhood, get involved and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let you know what you can do to help. The plan requires neighborhood help and without it, nothing will get done. The OTTA cannot help to reduce crime without your participation. Further, my recommendation is for you to write your thoughts on these new laws and send them to Kimberly Foxx, the Cook County States Attorney who created them, email@example.com. You can also write the Mayor’s office, firstname.lastname@example.org and voice your opinion.
Steve Weiss, President