Tuesday, June 18, 2019

'A Great Showing in a Great Community'

Neighbors flood street in anti-crime show of force

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

As many as 100 men, women and children shut down a Garfield Ridge street on June 17, all in name of taking a stand against crime.

“This is a great showing in a great community,” said Garfield
Ridge Neighborhood Watch President Al Cacciottolo as he addressed a crowd in the middle of the 5200 block of South Neenah. “We wanted to bring our meetings to the blocks. We want the bad guys to know that we’re out and we’re here and we’re together, and we’re not going to take any of their B.S.”

The turnout was nearly double a typical GRNW meeting attendance. The site was chosen by the GRNW because the block was the site of a home burglary at about 5:30 a.m. Monday, May 27—and while the residents inside slept, burglars were said to have stolen a TV, a video game console and the homeowner’s vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered.


“We don’t know exactly what happened, but I guarantee you that [the burglars] probably went up and down the block…and tried to get into some of these other houses,” Cacciottolo said. “This normally does not happen a lot in our community. But that’s why we’re all out here tonight—to come together, to stick up for one another, to be more vigilant and watch what’s going on in our community…and if you see something, call 911.”

His comments were echoed by CPD Officer Chris Barajas, a familiar face at GRNW meetings. Barajas briefly talked about catalytic converter thefts in the area and what a challenge it is to catch the thieves, because they work overnight and work quickly.

“If you see anything going on, get a [license] plate [number]…anything you see that’s odd, just call it in (to 911),” Barajas said. “Don’t say you’re wasting our time. Don’t call your friend, call 911. Don’t put it on Facebook…call it in, 911.”

A woman who identified herself as the victim of the May 27 burglary spoke at the meeting. She criticized police for not taking fingerprints off her vehicle after it was recovered in the Englewood (7th) Police District. She also said that after the burglary, someone logged into her stolen video game console. She was able to trace it to the vicinity of 47th and Racine—but she said she was unaware of police following up on it.

Also at the GRNW meeting, a representative from the office of 14th Ward Ald. Edward M. Burke announced that the alderman is taking action to have a surveillance camera installed near 51st and Central in the weeks ahead.

The move is similar to action taken by 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares who several months ago had a police surveillance camera mounted at 53rd and Harlem.

Both intersections are viewed by some in law enforcement as getaway points used by burglars, vandals, robbers and other criminals fleeing the north end of central and western Garfield Ridge.

“We’ve got to catch these hoodlums as they try to get away from the neighborhood,” Cacciottolo said as he praised the move by Burke.

The GRNW’s next public meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, July 15 at Normandy Park, 52nd and Normandy. The meeting will be held outdoors, and there will be a number of folding chairs set up; but those attending are welcome to bring lawn chairs, if they choose.

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