Neighbor Groups Respond To Proposed Police District Closure

By Mike Fourcher | Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Police officers from the 19th District search two men for narcotics on the southwest corner of Ashland Ave. and Irving Park Rd. on October 11. No arrest was made. Credit: Mike Fourcher

Leaders of neighborhood organizations in Lakeview and Roscoe Village are expressing concern today about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed closure of the 19th Police District, 2452 W. Belmont Ave. This morning the Mayor released his proposed 2012 Chicago budget, which includes a reduction of 1,300 personnel in the Police Department, 10 positions from the CAPS Implementation office and a $67 million reduction in Police Department spending.

“I think it’s a bad thing,” said Lisa Wilkins, President of the Roscoe Village Neighbors Association, whose area has been hit by two shootings this summer. “I know the city is in a major fiscal crisis, and everyone needs to give a little something. However, when it’s your police station, it hits pretty close to home. I’m generally not in favor of it.”

Despite the fact that the 19th District has one of the lowest reported crime rates in the city and the district recently trumpeted significant crime decreases since 2010, neighborhood group leaders were still concerned about the change.

“Our number one concern in every community meeting we have is around public safety,” said Will DeMille, President of the West Lakeview Neighbors Association (WLVN). “If you ask our residents if they think there has been a decrease, most would have a different option of that.”

“My area has had a number of break-ins and strong arm robberies. The crime du jour lately is for people to sit in wait in the alleys and wait for a car to back out and then attack them,” said South Lakeview Neighbors Association (SLVN) President David Duggan. “We don’t have a whole lot of murders or rapes, arsons or anything like that, but we’re not immune to crime around here. A year ago we had two brutal home invasions.”

None of the community groups have decided to officially protest the proposed closure, but WLNV and SLVN are both planning to discuss possible action at their next board meetings.

Digital copies of the mayor’s proposed budget are available here.

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  • http://twitter.com/johnfritchey John Fritchey

    While I have no vote on this matter as a County Commissioner, I am still able to voice my concern as an elected representative of the community.  As a former state legislator and current County Board member, I am well aware of the need to cut spending, operate more efficiently and balance our budgets.  I also know that safe neighborhoods are key to both our peace of mind as well as our economic vitality.  To that end, I will be expressing my opposition to the closing of either the Belmont station or the Wood St. station.  These stations provide a necessary foundation to our community and closing them sends the wrong signal at the wrong time.  It is essential for the City Council to find other areas in which to save money without doing so on the backs of our police stations.  Or libraries for that matter.

  • Anonymous

    Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey (12th) has announced his run for reelection as 32nd Ward Democratic Committeeman in the March 20, 2012 primary election. Fritchey was elected in 2008 with no opposition. Joe Lake, Chicago

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