Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch: Stay Strong, Vigilant, Involved, in Spring

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Just as the springtime beauty of daffodils is
accompanied by blooms of unwanted dandelions, so too is the joy over mild weather tempered with concern over the seasonal resurgence of petty crime, members of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch said earlier this week.

“As we move forward into spring and enjoy the outdoors, we should remember a few things to make sure that our neighborhood remains what it is—a place where crime is relatively low and the quality of life is high,” said GRNW President Al Cacciottolo.

The admonition came at the GRNW’s monthly meeting, held Monday night at the TCF Bank branch at 6141 S. Archer. About 50 men and women, mostly GRNW members, attended.
Al Cacciottolo
The return of warm weather means the return of what many in Garfield Ridge consider a seasonal nuisance, judging by comments at neighborhood meetings in recent years: men walking up and down local alleys and taping advertising leaflets to garage door frames.

The leaflets typically tout the services of small home-improvement contractors.

“These guys use tape, and often when you remove the flyer, your garage’s paint comes off with it,” Cacciottolo said, adding that some of the men in years past were found to be casing back yards and returning later to steal grills, patio furniture and other belongings.

In his position as 23rd Ward superintendent for the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, Cacciottolo said he helps enforce a city ordinance that calls for fines and even arrests of those taping leaflets to private property.

“We are issuing citations because we are fed up,” he said. “It’s the same thing over and over. I’ve explained to these guys that they’re wasting their time and money by putting these flyers up--because we pull them down.”

Cacciottolo added that he has drafted students from Kennedy High School to help pull the leaflets down.

“These kids are on detention—and they need to get off detention—so they need to do community service hours, so I’ve got them going up and down the alleys,” he said. “Hopefully, in the next day or so, we’ll get them all taken down. I’ve gotten four bags of these things from the kids.”

CPD CAPS Sergeant Randi O’Carroll, at the meeting as an invited speaker, added—in response to a question—that people who see men taping leaflets to garages should call 911 immediately and give an accurate description of the worker, including location and in what direction he is walking.

Garfield Ridge residents are also invited to call the GRNW’s toll-free tip line at 1-855-811-TIPS.

Other heightened concerns related to warmer weather discussed at the meeting included:

• Drag racing and loitering on Archer Avenue. GRNW members advised everyone to pay special attention to Dunkin’ Donuts and 7-Eleven, which some said can attract loiterers and drag racers.

• Teenagers hanging out at The Pit, an area along the Belt Railway tracks immediately south of Valley Forge Park, 7001 W. 59th St. Those who see anyone trespassing on railroad property are encouraged to call 911 immediately, and then Belt Railway police at (312) 543-8269 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and (312) 543-3658 at all other hours.

• Kennedy High School students and the potential for
mischief. “There aren’t [crime-related] issues with Kennedy students right now, but when school gets out at 2:45, there’s an abundance of kids,” Cacciottolo said. “They’re going to be on the island (the Solidarity Triangle at Archer and Mulligan, where many Kennedy students board CTA buses). So let’s be out there, be visible, let them see you, they know the red shirt [of the GRNW].”

Also at Monday’s meeting, GRNW board member Arlene White said the group’s Sell-A-Bration is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21 at Kennedy High School’s west parking lot, near 56th and Narragansett.

The popular event is essentially a community garage sale. Those who want to reserve a space for a nominal fee should call (773) 229-1993 or visit garfieldridgenw.com. This year, vendors (such as Avon, Tupperware and more) are invited to be a part of the mix. Volunteers are also needed to promote the event, as well as staff it.

Proceeds from the event will be earmarked for several charitable endeavors.

Cacciottolo and McBrien
Cacciottolo and others thanked TCF Bank Branch Manager Sean McBrien for his hospitality and providing a meeting room that was clean and air conditioned on an unseasonably warm evening. McBrien said his goal is for the branch to become more involved in the neighborhood in the weeks and months ahead.

The next GRNW meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, May 16 at a location to be announced.

# # #

1 comment: