Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Working Together Can Work Wonders

Here's an example of city government and a community group working together to take action---with commendable speed and efficiency.

At the Chicago Police Department's CAPS Beat 811 meeting on Tuesday evening, October 16 (at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church), a Garfield Ridge woman who says she's at her very first CAPS meeting complains about clusters of local punks---mostly junior high age---who are walking down the alley and streets near her house (near 54th and Rutherford) and causing trouble: intimidating local senior citizens, flipping over garbage carts, harassing people by ringing doorbells, and even spraying graffiti on the overhead door of her garage.

The people at the meeting, including CPD Sergeant Allen Cain and two officers with him, suggest several constructive solutions. One is to work with the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch on the issue.

The woman, clearly fed up with the young punks (at least one of whom lives on the same block), expresses exasperation with the idea and doubts that anything at all can be done.

As is usually the case at Beat 811 meetings, Kevin Chojnowski of the GRNW is in attendance. He sits down with the woman immediately after the meeting to get a few details and assure her that the GRNW is on the case.

Minutes later, he's on the phone with GRNW President Al Cacciottolo, who was recently named 23rd Ward superintendent for the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. He relays details of the situation.

Before noon the next day, Streets and San goes to the woman's home and removes the graffiti from her garage door.

Several days later (delayed only by steady rain), a Streets and San crew heads over there to put a fresh coat of paint on the overhead door. The door looks like new.

On top of that, both CPD and the GRNW are keeping extra eyes on the block to lean on any teens who might be causing trouble.

So we tip our cap to Streets and San for working with lightning-quick efficiency; to the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch for being a fast and faithful conduit of information; and to CPD for hosting CAPS meetings that among other things offer a good place for folks to come with concerns.

As we have said before, CAPS meetings are what we make of them. If you go there and sit passively, it's mostly a waste of your time. If you go ready to air concerns and contribute common-sense, constructive ideas, then everyone wins.

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  1. Rumor has it that CPD is greatly reducing CAPS because those cops are needed back on the street. Maybe it's just a rumor.

    1. Our colleagues at the Reader posted an article about this very topic: http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2012/10/26/top-cops-cant-explain-whats-up-with-caps