Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Police Advise Caution, Common Sense During the Christmas Shopping Season

A note of Christmas-season caution was sounded---and practical advice delivered---at tonight's Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting in Garfield Ridge.

"When you're out shopping on Black Friday or any day ahead, remember to lock your car doors; and above all, make sure that the things you buy are not sitting inside your car where they can be seen by others," said CPD Sergeant Allen Cain, CAPS coordinator in the Eighth District. "Put your bags and packages in the trunk; and don't even leave change sitting out in the open. A criminal will break into your car just for that."

The November CAPS meeting for the Eighth Police District’s Beat 811 (see clickable beat map) was held at Good Shepherd Church. About 20 people attended.

Cain also reminded everyone to be aware of their surroundings---and to let children know the same. "How many of us see kids walking around like this?" he asked while pantomiming a person walking down the street, staring at a cell phone---drawing chuckles and nods of recognition from several people in the audience.

He cautioned against con artists making holiday-themed solicitations, and advised everyone to avoid putting boxes from big-ticket items out by the garbage cart. "If you just got that big new flat-screen TV, don't let everyone else know it by putting the empty box out in the alley all week," Cain said. He advised keeping such packaging hidden until garbage pick-up day.

Cain's advice was echoed by an off-duty CPD officer in the audience who said that "...thefts and burglaries will go up" this holiday season, especially in a relatively affluent city neighborhood like Garfield Ridge. He also warned against robberies on the street, especially of young people. "These people, they come into this neighborhood three or four in a car, looking for anyone they can rob. They're not looking for big bucks. They'll take anything you have on you---even for just ten bucks and an iPhone because they know all these kids have iPhones. And then they jump back in their car, get on the Stevenson at Harlem and head east---or get on Archer and go east---and that's it."

He also sounded a note of caution about technicians who need to enter homes and claimed that a TV service installer who was in his home returned several days later in an apparent attempt to case his house for a burglary. He reminded everyone to check service workers' photo IDs and keep copies of work orders.

The next CAPS meeting for Beat 811 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 18 at Good Shepherd, 5556 South Merrimac. All local residents are encouraged to attend. For more details, phone the Eighth District CAPS Office at 312-747-8724.

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