Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Garfield Ridge, Archer Hts CAPS Recaps

Two recent Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meetings on the Southwest Side yielded common concerns and calls for renewed citizen vigilance and cooperation with police in thwarting crime.

The January CAPS meeting for the Eighth Police District’s Beat 811 (see clickable beat map below) was held Tuesday night at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church and was attended by 26 local men and women.

Highlights included:

** Eighth District Court Advocacy Chair Barbara Ziegler made a pitch for all Garfield Ridge residents to sign up as court advocates, even if only on a trial basis.

"Just try it once. One day," she said. "It's the easiest thing you'll ever do for your neighborhood. All you do is show up in court with us; and when the case we're following is called, stand up and look disgruntled."

Ziegler said that while the Eighth District's Court Advocacy Program is the largest in the entire city, there is currently a shortage of Garfield Ridge residents in the group to follow crimes committed in Beat 811.

Working as unpaid volunteers, court advocates attend select judicial proceedings to show support for crime victims and witnesses, as well as use their presence to make a positive impact upon judges and everyone else in the courtroom---a silent yet powerful reminder that the community stands united against crime and has an uncompromising insistence that justice be served.

"And believe me, the police appreciate it when they see us in court, backing them up," Ziegler added, the CPD officers behind her nodding their heads in agreement.

For details on tagging along with the Court Advocates, check out the Southwest Chicago Post story from several months ago.

** Kevin Chojnowski of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch noted that the GRNW continues to actively patrol the neighborhood during the winter months and encouraged everyone to report criminal activity promptly. He said that there have been several recent instances of graffiti near 57th and Rutherford, which were reported and eradicated. The next public meeting of the GRNW will occur in March, time/date/place to be announced.

** It was stated that a woman living near 54th and Rutherford is being harassed by local teens. Over the Christmas holiday, they reportedly rang her doorbell repeatedly and threw a large quantity of empty ketchup packets and drinking straws (reportedly obtained from McDonald's) on her lawn. The victim reportedly has not contacted police because of fear of retaliation by the punks. Both Chojnowski and CPD officers present pledged to investigate and take appropriate action. 

** Several residents of a block near 59th and Moody alleged that a resident of the block continues to host large, loud, late-night house parties that include serving liquor to minors. CPD Sergeant Allen Cain, head of the Eighth District CAPS Program, promised to meet with the residents immediately after the meeting to get more details and investigate---which he did.

** There was a question about two recent garage burglaries (reported in the SWCP "Crime News Update" of January 6)---one near 62nd and Moody, the other near 58th and Meade. Cain used the question to reiterate his advice about everyone cutting or covering the emergency-release cords on overhead doors---advice first reported on by the Southwest Chicago Post in June of 2012.

** In response to a question, a police officer said she has heard from an authoritative source that the vacant business parcel on the northeast corner of 54th and Harlem (the old Arby's) will next be a car wash.

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The January CAPS meeting for the Eighth Police District’s Beats 815 and 821 (see clickable beat map below) was held January 2 at St. Bruno School and was attended by 11 local men and women.

Highlights included:

** Cain touted as a "success story of the month" the arrest of a 21-year-old Archer Heights man (Tony Kodykowski of 50th and Kolin) in December.

Tony Kodykowski
According to a CPD incident report, Kodykowski was arrested at 7:15 a.m. Sunday, December 16 after he was allegedly seen spray-painting graffiti on garages near 45th and Keeler and 44th and Kedvale. Police said that a custodial search of Kodykowski revealed a car GPS unit and two face plates from car stereos. They said that Kodykowski admitted stealing the items a short time earlier from two vehicles (a 1994 Buick LeSabre and a 1994 Chevy Cavalier) parked near 44th and Kedvale. He allegedly smashed the passenger-side window of each car.

** CAPS facilitator Michael Kovac made an appeal for better attendance by urging everyone at the meeting to spread the word about CAPS meetings to the neighbors on their blocks, as well as in local schools, churches and clubs. "We tend to see the same people at these (CAPS) meetings," he said. "It's up to you to take the information you receive here and make others aware of it." Kovac talked about his own involvement with CAPS, which started with a crime concern on the block he lived on at that time. "I learned that CAPS is a valuable tool; and I learned that sometimes it's not a quick fix, that you have to be persistent (in fighting crime and nuisance neighbors)."

** Cain stated that he is open to suggestions on how to make CAPS meetings more useful for participants. "This is not my meeting. This is all of us together," he said. "If you have an idea, please approach me and let me know."

** Cain also reminded everyone about the importance of calling 911 to report suspicious activity. "The biggest things that these crooks fear is a nosy neighbor," he said. "If you see something that doesn't look right...if you get that, what do you call it, 'spider sense' about something, call it in right away. Let us check it out. And hey, if it turns out to be nothing, so what? No harm, no foul." Cain added that even if a person has already heard the suspicious situation dispatched over the police radio (as a result of someone else's 911 call), call 911 anyway to add all relevant details and give the matter more credibility by adding the voice of another witness.

** An Archer Heights man attending his first CAPS meeting thanked and praised Cain for his diligence and effectiveness in ensuring that an auto repair shop at Archer and Kostner stopped parking cars on residential streets nearby.

All local residents are encouraged to attend CAPS meetings. For more details, phone the Eighth District CAPS Office at 312-747-8724 or check the CAPS meeting calendar online.

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1 comment:

  1. When I moved into the neighborhood there wasn't a problem for parking on the street. Now I can't believe all the cars on the neighborhood either people are renting their basement out illegally. I'm starting to see 2 family homes in homes that were one family homes. I just winder if the city inspectors are realize that there is a lot of remodeling and I think Illegal apt.'s being built by Hispanic on the down low and then next thing you know there is a new car in the neighborhood where it came from is a mystery. My neighbor even goes to Wisconsin goes to get her license plate from Wisconsin even thou he cabin is no longer functioning/ as livable jus so she doesn't have to pay for city stickers when she lives here!! How arrogant is that neighborhood watch representative and scamming the city