Our new 24th District Police Commander, David Sobczyk, has hit the ground running with a new initiative to take the bite out of crime in the Howard Street area.
Beginning Sunday, February 1st, 24th District beat officers and Chicago Police Department tactical team officers will engage in a concerted and coordinated effort to strictly enforce all violations of state law and city and Park District ordinances. In addition, a "zero tolerance" policy will be adopted for all truants and curfew violators.
Recognizing that most crime and disorder activity takes place during the afternoon and early evening, enforcement efforts will be concentrated especially between noon and midnight, with a highly visible police presence during the evening rush hour.
The boundaries of the target area are Jonquil Terrace on the north, Rogers Avenue on the south, Clark Street on the west and Greenview Avenue on the east. The area, which includes the Howard Street el station and the Willye White (formerly Gale) Park, is one of the more challenging in the ward. In the last half of 2008, the area accounted for over 1,100 calls for service, 156 arrests, and over 700 contact cards. Contact cards are brief reports completed by police officers during traffic stops and investigative stops based on a suspicion of criminal activity.
Despite the arrests and contact card activity, crime and disorder continues to affect the area. Commander Sobczyk launched this initiative now to establish control over the area before the warm weather returns in the spring. The Commander tells me a disproportionate number of contacts and arrests are made of people who live outside the neighborhood. He hopes this new initiative will discourage those troublemakers from returning to the area.
The overall goal of the plan is to reduce the number of calls for service in the target area by reducing the incidents of crime and disorder. The Commander will continually monitor the area for changes in criminal behavior and adapt their enforcement efforts to those changes.
Commander Sobczyk assures me that this new initiative will not result in any reduction of police forces or efforts in other areas of our neighborhood.
I will work closely with Commander Sobczyk to monitor the progress of the new initiative and report to you the results.