Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch Works With CPD and Others to Beat Crime Again

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Things are quiet at the home at 5612 South Narragansett, just as they should be.

But it wasn't always that way.
5612 S.Narragansett (two-story house just beyond the Kennedy HS sign)

In the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage of the April 2012 meeting of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, we alerted our readers that the GRNW reported:

"...that alleged gang members have just begun renting a home near 56th and Narragansett, across the street from Kennedy High School. All community members were advised to watch the block closely and promptly report any suspicious activity to 911."

And many of us did exactly that. Nothing illegal. Nothing unethical. Just simple watching and listening. Dozens of eyes and ears on the place.

In the Southwest Chicago Post's coverage of the May 2012 meeting of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, we wrote that GRNW President Al Cacciottolo:

"...mentioned that police and others are keeping a close watch on a residence near 56th and Narragansett. In April, a number of people observed young men on the front porch of the home, apparently attempting to intimidate students at the west entrance to Kennedy High School (almost directly across the street). The men, dressed in gang banger-style dark jeans and plain white t-shirts, were seen flashing gang signs and giving the 'war face' glares that are a small but common part of gang intimidation. 'Well, if you've noticed---since last month, things have gotten real quiet at that house,' Cacciottolo said. 'They know they are being watched, very closely. So let's all stay on top of this and make sure it stays that way.'"

Thankfully, that's exactly what occurred. Chicago Police, as well as GRNW patrols, individual neighbors and other good people from Garfield Ridge kept their eyes and ears open.

Sure enough, the occupants of the home slipped up eventually.

In late summer, police on patrol---with their eyes, ears and noses open---caught a whiff of marijuana smoke wafting from the backyard of the house.

Several tenants at the home were in the backyard, along with a few buddies.

One of the people living there was 30-year-old Jose Gonzalez. Police say they found a bag of pot and three bags of cocaine stashed in his cargo shorts.

When they searched the house, police say they found (in Gonzalez' bedroom) a bag of heroin, two bags of cocaine and a bag of psilocybin, as well as materials often connected with illegal drugs, like a small scale, a roll of aluminum foil and a bag of rubber bands.

In the bedroom of 19-year-old Caitlyn Thurman, police say they found burnt marijuana in a canister, a clear plastic bag containing eight blue straws filled with cocaine, a scale and a supply of clear plastic bags.

In the basement, where 21-year-old Vito Centano said his band practices, police say they found a white plastic canister containing a pipe and a bag of marijuana, as well as a dozen yellow pills believed to be Xanax in a pocket of a guitar case.

Arrests were made; and as you might imagine, the tenants departed.

Last month, a "For Rent" sign appeared on the front lawn for a few weeks. It is now gone. Presumably, new tenants are in or about to move in.
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Folks, this isn't the first time we've reported a Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch success story, and it probably won't be the last. But it serves as yet another reminder that when the good men and women of a community stand together---shoulder to shoulder in a united front against crime and blight, gangbangers and other criminals don't stand a chance. Especially when the good people work hand-in-glove with smart, experienced, motivated police---as we typically have in the Eighth District.

So many thanks to the GRNW, the CPD Eighth District and everyone who had a hand in this situation. You are among the reasons that Garfield Ridge remains one of the best places in the city to live.

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  1. Glad we are keeping these scumbags out of our neighborhood! We're not going to move out because these scumbags are trying to move into our neighborhood, we're going to stand our ground!!

  2. See ya scumbags! Not in this neighborhood losers.