Beat Meeting Attendance Remains a Key Component to Helping Reduce Crime in 47th Ward

by Peter von Buol

The Chicago Police Department’s Community Policing (CAPS) program continues to be a vital resource for 47th Ward residents concerned about crime in their community.

According to officials at the Chicago Police Dept., residents who attend beat meetings are directly helping their local beat officers fight crime. By interacting with residents, police officers learn from residents about crime, and other issues, that plague a local community.

“[The public gets] to know the officers that work on your beat, provide information about you and your neighbors’ concerns to police, meet other residents in your beat who may be working on similar issues, and bring back the latest information from police to your neighbors,” said a spokesperson from the Chicago Police Department in a written statement.

Two separate police districts serve the 47th Ward, the 19th District at 860 W. Addison St., and the 20th District at 5400 N. Lincoln Avenue. The 19th District serves those south of Lawrence Ave. and the 20th District serves those north of Lawrence Ave. Each police district is divided into beats. Beat officers are assigned to work a specific beat within their district. Seven police beats serve the 47th Ward. Four of the beats operate out of the CPD’s 19th District (Beats 1911, 1912, 1921 and 1922) and three of the beats operate out of the 20th District (Beats 2031, 2032 and 2033).

Ward residents are encouraged to attend the regular meetings hosted by the beat officers. In the 47th Wards, meetings are usually held about once every other month. To learn more about the CAPS program go to https://home.chicagopolice.org/get-involved-with-caps

This month, the 20th District’s Beat 2033 will host a meeting April 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold A. Bezazian Branch, 1226 W. Ainslie.

Next month, the ward’s other six beats will participate in four separate meetings. Beats 1911 and 1912 will host a joint meeting on May 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Chicago Public Library’s Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave. The following day, Beats 1921 and 1922 will participate in a joint meeting on May 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the police auditorium of the CPD’s facility at 2452 W. Belmont. Beat 2031 will host its meeting May 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the Anderson Pavilion of Swedish Covenant Hospital, 2751 W. Winona. Beat 2032 will host its meeting May 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the Bezazian Branch, 1226 W. Ainslie.

For more information, call the 19th District’s community-relations office at (312) 744-0064 or call the 20th District’s community-relations office at (312) 742-8770. In addition, ward residents can send an email to 19th District CAPS program at CAPS.019District@chicagopolice.org or send an email to the 20th District CAPS program at CAPS.020District@chicagopolice.org.

A relatively cold March seems to have helped contribute to a drop in violent crimes in the 47th Ward. Statistics published by the Chicago Police Department show a significant decrease in violent activity. Compared to statistics published mid-March 2017, there was a 22 percent decrease reported in mid-March 2018 in the number of reported criminal sexual assaults, a five-percent decrease in the number of reported robberies and a dramatic 30 percent decrease in the number of motor-vehicles stolen. There were no reported homicides in 2017 or 2018.

According to the editors of the crime-news blog CWBChicago.com, colder temperatures often help decrease the amount of criminal activity.

“The cold weather has done a pretty good job of keeping the lid on most serious crime-waves. [Our experience has been that] that warmer weather brings more crime,” said the editors of CWB Chicago in response to a question from the Schulter Foundation.

Not all the crime news has been positive. Compared to mid-March 2017, there was a 16 percent increase in home-burglaries reported in mid-March 2018. There was also a single reported shooting-incident. None had been reported for the same period last year.

As temperatures increase in the spring, the editors of CWBChicago.com caution residents that criminal activity also tends to increase. It is important ward residents remain aware of potential criminal activity and to always take preventive measures, even during the daytime.

“Lock your doors, even when you are home. [Always exercise] caution when you install a window air-conditioner [as these units can often be easily removed and leave you vulnerable to a burglar],” add the CWBChicago.com editors.
Among the most effective tools for fighting crime is one that is also very simple. Crimes often occur in alleys and that can make it very difficult for a police officer to respond to a call. Alleys are shared by two different streets and while the front of a property is usually easy to find, the back of a property can be very difficult for a first-responder. Most Chicago properties lack a street address on the back of the property. That often makes it difficult for police officers and fire-fighters to get to where they are needed. To assist them, it is important to add the number on the back of a property. Adding the street name also helps but just adding the number is crucial. In an emergency, seconds count. It can be posted on a garage, a rear gate or on a coach house. Anywhere that it would be clearly visible greatly helps, according to the editors of CWBChicago.com.

According to blog’s editors, the 19th police district has been severely undermanned. Since March of 2012, the 19th district’s manpower strength has dropped about 25% (February 2018 data). Most of the decline has been due to the department’s failure to replace officers who have retired or transferred to other districts in the city. There are times when the entire 19th district quite literally has no police officers available to handle emergency calls. Unfortunately, this
happens on a regular basis. The police department even has a special category for those times when no police officers are available to respond to calls. This category is known as Radio Assignments Pending (RAPs).

Below is a list of incidences in 2018 the CWBChicago editors have confirmed the 19th Police District was operating in RAP status. The blog’s researchers use a variety of methods to track RAPs. Citing safety concerns, city officials refuse to release the dates and times of RAPs. Therefore, the list below should be considered a conservative estimate of the total number of RAPS the district has experienced.

In addition to beat meetings, each CPD district commander has a district advisory committee. Committee members represent a broad spectrum of the community. Committees include neighborhood residents; business-owners; local clergy and representatives from local libraries, parks, schools and community-based organizations. These committees provide advice and help develop community-based strategies to address the underlying conditions in a district that may contribute to crime and disorder.

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