The Sun Times is reporting this morning that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed 2012 city budget will recommend closure of the Belmont Police District, also known as the 19th District. The closure would be part of a broader belt tightening that proposes closure of two of police districts, the 13th, which is just south and west of the 19th, and the 21st, on the near-South Side.
The Sun Times also reports that Emanuel’s budget would close two of the city’s five detective districts, one of which, Area Three, is located in the 19th District headquarters, 2452 W. Belmont Ave. The Sun Times reports that it has not been determined which detective districts would come under the axe.
The 19th District, which runs from Lawrence Ave. in the north, to Diversey Ave. in the south and between the river and Clark St. in the east, has some of Chicago’s lowest violent crime rates, but has a history of relatively high property crime rates. While there have been three relatively high-profile shootings in the district recently, including a murder at Irving Park and Ashland last week, 19th District officials recently released statistics showing that the district has the second biggest decrease in overall crime of all police districts in the city.
Mayor Emanuel’s 2012 budget, his first since election last spring, needs to address an estimated $635.7 million budget gap between revenues and expenses. Because the vast majority of Chicago’s budget goes to personnel, layoffs and consolidations are expected to be a major part of Emanuel’s budget.