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.