Southwest Chicago Post
For the second time in three months, the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch will hold a public meeting at a place some consider a trouble spot.
All those who live in or own a business in CPD Beat 811
(central and west Garfield Ridge; everything west of Central Avenue) are invited to the event, set for 7:00 p.m. Monday, August 19 on the street, immediately north of Archer and Neva.
(In case of foul weather, the meeting will head inside to the Croatian Radio Club headquarters at Archer and Nordica.)
The site was chosen by the GRNW to express ongoing concern for petty crime occurring in and around the adjacent parking lot at Walgreens, 7150 West Archer, and update everyone on steps the pharmacy giant has taken to make its grounds safer and cleaner.
“There have been concerns about some people--not customers--using the parking lot as a place to buy and sell drugs and conduct other illegal transactions,” said GRNW President Al Cacciottolo. “Plus, there have been concerns about panhandlers at and around that site.”
Cacciottolo said that Walgreens management has been receptive to listening to local residents’ concerns and appears to be taking steps to address them.
The site is no stranger to occasional complaints by neighbors. For years, some have complained about the unkempt condition of the CTA bus turnaround at Archer and Neva. CTA officials have occasionally been criticized for failing to empty their trash cans in a timely manner or keep the parkway weeds under control.
Back in June, the GRNW held an outdoor meeting in the street in the 5200 block of South Neenah—the site of a home burglary in late May—to organize neighbors angry about the crime. Turnout exceeded expectations. Roughly 100 men, women and children flooded the street—about double the typical turnout at a GRNW meeting.
Founded in 2009 by three people fed up with crime in the area, the GRNW has grown in size and strength and has been credited with helping reduce crime in Garfield Ridge, long one of the city’s safest neighborhoods.
The GRNW is widely viewed as one of the most effective citizen-led crime prevention organizations in the city or suburbs.
Born with assistance from the Clearing Night Force, the GRNW has helped start neighborhood watches in city neighborhoods as far away as Hegewisch and as close as West Lawn, as well as in suburban areas like Central Stickney, Summit and Oak Lawn.
GRNW members on patrol do not pursue criminals or get directly involved with crimes in progress, but they do serve as extra sets of eyes and ears for police, providing direction that has helped police solve crimes in some cases and prevent others. Their toll-free tip line played a role in the capture several years ago of a man who attempted to rob, at knifepoint, the Walgreens at Archer and Harlem.
Those interested in joining the group now are encouraged to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.