Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beat 2523 Meeting Last Night (1-28-10)

Good morning, everyone. The Beat meeting for 2523 is a growing success, if you ask me. More people are getting involved more than ever. The room last night was aboustely jam packed with people. There were business owners from Dunkin Donuts, the Shell gas station at 3181 N Milwaukee and the Red Apple at 3121 N Milwaukee, Father Mike from St. Hyacinth was there, we had two representatives from Salvation Army there. Heck, even Alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th) and Alderman Ray Suarez (31st) were there. The 25th District Police Commander, Robert Lopez, was there. There were also two cheif officers from Area 5 that attended. They were seen taking notes. I would just like to say, thanks to all of these people in attendance, something probably will be done.

Our first issue of the month was the vacant properties at 2941 and 2943 N Avers. The property at 2941 N Avers had the door taken off, which is sort of good news, because now people can see if trespassers go in there or not. The property at 2943 N Avers had a broken window, I believe. Sergeant Weiglein told everyone he checked this out and notified the owners. They have 30 days to comply. The issue with the boarded up property at 3043 N Monticello was discussed with Officer Flores, from the CAPS office. As for the 2900 block of N Springfield issues, the resident complaining was not in attendance at this meeting, so this wasn't talked about. Nor did anymore issues come up for that block.

Are you wondering about the homeless guys? Well, they were certainly talked about. In fact, we spent over 20 minutes after 8pm, when the meeting was supposed to end, talking about it. They're not causing as much problems as they were before, but it's still a big problem. They still continue to loiter. They still drink and harass people. They still bother the owners of Red Apple and their customers. And now, they're causing problems at Dunkin Donuts, 3801 W Belmont. They're scaring customers away, harassing the owners, all of it. One of the cashiers accompanied the two owners and expressed real concern of the drunks causing problems. I can tell from personal observation that the owners of Dunkin Donuts are good people and that they want to help us in this situation. If anything, they need to be helped. They're starting to lose business because of this. However, the CTA bus shelter being removed from Milwaukee and Hamlin has made a small difference.

A woman who was representing Salvation Army at the meeting said that the drunks are victims and need help. They do need help, but really, are they vitcims? Not really in my opinion. They don't want the help, so why bother? But, we do need to do something about their behavior. Anyway, Alderman Suarez said he was the one who personally stopped the Salvation Army from feeding the vagrants. The reason may have been that the drunks create a lot of litter.

But the drunks weren't just the issue. There's also the daily laborers who gather at the Shell gas station at Belmont and Milwaukee. They've been gathering in groups of 40 and 50, looking for work. The problem is, they block everything off and then except people to feel bad for them. When the owner tells them to leave, they just walk over to the sidewalk. After that, as you can imagine, the police really cannot do anything due to the ACLU laws (which we seriously need to challenge, especially in this city). These people also critcize the police and residents like us when we try to do something about it. The owner of the gas station has been getting threats for trying to do something about this. So, as you can see, there's alot of issues on this Beat.

A sad, but true, note to bring up: Our two aldermen, particulary Suarez, said there's nothing they can really do about this situation. One resident, who's an active member of this meeting, suggested that the aldermen open up a hiring hall (after the father of the owner of Dunkin Donuts brought this up) for those day laborers so we don't have a problem with them gathering at the gas station. Alderman Suarez immeadiately got defensive, in my opinion, and said it was illegal to do this. Why? This is an issue that affects your Ward, Suarez. Well, all I have to say is this: if Suarez keeps saying he can't do anything, people may take that to heart and let him know in the next elections that his days of being the 31st Ward Alderman are over. Seriously. It may just come to that point.

Moving on to the new problems:
  • 3149 N Springfield - There was an incident recently were someone tagged the building, per the manager of the building [this is a shout out to you, I know you're probably reading this blog now! :)]. They apparently tagged the roof. Alderman Suarez told the manager that he contacted the removal service and they should be out there soon. The police are looking into it. Alderman Suarez suggested that the owner got up on the roof and painted over the graffiti right away. Yeah, that's really helpful.
  • 2900 block of N Kenosha - A resident reports that there are stolen vehicles parked on the block. They may be involved in some sort of illegal activity. Sergeant Weiglein tells us Officer Rivera, who works Beat car 2525, will look into it. He's very good at breaking up activites like this.
  • 2800 block of N Ridgeway and Beat wide - This is one issue your's truly brought up. I'm concerned about the number of robberies that have been happening on the block. There have been two or three within the last few weeks, I think. There has also been more than a dozen robberies on this Beat within the last month. I think this is concerning. I told Sergeant Weiglein my concern and he said there will be increased patrols, because he's concerned about the numbers too.

Other observations:
> Alderman Reboyras is friendly, more than I thought he'd be. He seems to care deeply about the problem with the homeless men. Alderman Suarez seems to care, too, but he wasn't exactly too friendly and every time the members suggested something to him, he'd say there's nothing he can do. However, he told the business owners to always call the police if they've got a problem with an intoxicated guy or day laborer. He also encouraged all of us to do our part in this situation. Suarez seems to be especially concerned with this issue because there's a new school opening up at Milwaukee and Springfield this fall, in his ward. He's not allowing the homeless guy's activites over there whatsoever.
> Commander Lopez seems like a nice guy. He repeatedly told the business owners to call the police when they've got an issue like Suarez was talking about. He also explained to us about the street loiters and other questions people asked related to crime caused by these homeless guys. On a sad note, however, he told us besides trying to move the guys along and offering complaints for people to sign, there's nothing he and his officers can really do.
> The most incidents took place in the 3000 block of N. Pulaski Road. The most crimes were Battery again (24 reported incidents), Burglary (21 reported incidents) and Theft (19 reported incidents). The most incidents took place on Fridays (3o reported incidents) and Thursdays (25 reported incidents). Most incidents took place on the street (36 reported incidents), and in apartments (31 reported incidents). The most incidents took place in the 12am, 3pm and 7pm hour.

I'd just like to say again, this meeting has tons of people at it. We need that for every meeting. Show these homeless guys, robbers, day laborers, etc. that we're standing up to them and we're sick of Avondale being in a decline. Thanks to everyone for being there! It's encouraging!

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

Hi, Timmy,

Thanks again for what you do; you really are making a difference!

AvondaleLoganSquareCrimeBlotter said...

Not a problem. I enjoy doing this work for all of you.

Ravin'maven said...

Thanks, Timmy, for the meeting report. I am especially concerned about criminal activity around Shoemaker Plaza. I'm disabled and it is a toss-up which intersection, Belmont/Pulaski or Belmont Milwaukee, is worse to use when taking the CTA to that area. Now I have to contend with sidewalks that are neglected because of empty property along that stretch of Belmont, making passage difficult as well as the drunk and disorderly. That area is a blight among an otherwise up and coming area.

AvondaleLoganSquareCrimeBlotter said...

Not a problem, Ravin. I enjoyed doing this report for everyone. Dumb question, though. Is Shoemaker Plaza the one small mall that stretches from Wellington to Barry on Pulaski Road?

If you ask me, Belmont and Milwaukee is the worst in terms of drunks. Belmont and Pulaski is pretty bad too, though. But in my personal opinion, the worst area in the neighborhood is Belmont on Ridgeway to Central Park because of the very high gang activity over there. And I'm sorry to hear about the poor sidewalk conditions on Belmont. I hope the city will fix it soon.

Yes, the area is blight, but with Beat meetings like the one we have last night, I believe change is soon on the way. All we have to do is stand up to this activity.