by BRIAN NADIG
Concerns about three incidents of gunfire, including one gang-related shooting, near Roberts Square Park and Beaubien School since Sept. 23 took center stage at tonight’s 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Beat 1623 meeting.
“There’s a turf war starting to happen (around the park),” one resident said, asking how the community can report suspicious activity to police which does not necessarily warrant a 911 call. “It’s the type of call that is not going to get response right away.”
Some residents expressed concern about teens who wear ski masks and appear to be dealing or smoking marijuana or wearing colors that signify a gang.
Police have notified the school about potential concerns if students are wearing red and black clothing.
16th District community policing sergeant Martita Cervantes said that 911 should be called anytime suspicious activity or a crime is in progress, allowing for the incident to be documented.
The community policing office can be contacted about other information, which one resident described as “breadcrumbs” that by themselves are not important but could help with an investigation, she said. CAPS.email@example.com
Cervantes said that there are no known gangs operating in the area.
16th District captain Felipe Reyes said that a Nov. 11 incident of gunfire in the 5000 block of Winnemac appears to be an “isolated” incident but that police are still investigating and that it’s not clear if a specific house was targeted. Five shell cases were recovered but it is not believed the houses closest to the casings were being targeted. No one was reported injured in the Nov. 11 incident, and the gunfire may been been shot up in the air and not toward a building, police said.
A Sept. 23 incident on the same block resulted in damage, as residents reported several basement windows of a home being shot out from multiple rounds of gunfire.
Some Winnemac residents said that detectives have not followed up with them about the gunfire incidents and that they tried to give additional information at the police station the following day but were unsuccessful.
In a Nov. 4 incident in an alley near the park a man was shot twice after another man exited a car and reportedly asked what gang he belonged to. The victim does not appear to have any gang ties, police said.
Reyes said that a “special attention” has been placed on the neighborhood, as tactical officers and other resources are being used to bring additional patrols to the area.
Some residents raised concerns that the district needs more officers and that criminals are using some of the area’s side streets because they allow for easy access — “a straight shot” — to the expressway and some major thoroughfares.
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) said he will talk to CDOT about possible traffic calming devices to address the issue.
Gardiner said that he has been advocating for more officers since he was first elected in 2019. “Everyone in City Council, except for a few, wants more officers,” he said.
About 200 people attending the meeting, which was relocated from the police station to Beaubien at the request of Gardiner due to the recent incidents near the park and school.