Chicago Police Sergeant Chris Schenk hosted a virtual CAPS meeting via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. He was joined by CPD Detective McCarthy and Miguel Guzman, coordinator for the department’s Office of Community Policing.
The meeting covered recent and ongoing activity in Chicago Police Beats 1831 through 1834 — which include the Magnificent Mile, River North, and Streeterville.
At the start of the proceedings, Sergeant Schenk noted that 18 attendees had logged on to participate. He presented the “ground rules” — one person speaks at a time, ask questions with respect, etc. — and explained that anyone who wanted to comment should click the “raise hand” button on the lower portion of their Zoom screens. Then he presented the statistics of crime reported since the last CAPS meeting on March 5 and compared those totals with the activity for the same time frame last year.
Decrease in reported crime
Reports of assault, battery, criminal damage, deceptive practice, robbery, and theft show a significant decrease in occurrence compared to the data from 2019. There were 136 reports of theft across all four beats over the past two months, making it the most-reported crime discussed at the meeting. Most of the remaining categories generated single-digit totals.
To view the CPD’s crime statistics database, click here.
Moving on to the topic of “old business,” Sergeant Schenk addressed issues that were raised during the previous CAPS meeting on March 5. Among them were high reports of mail package theft in Streeterville, which have almost ceased entirely as the CPD has been “going through the area and stepping up patrols.”
The high number of robberies reported in Streeterville during January and February have also gone away, most likely due to the fact that police have arrested a juvenile suspected of committing the offenses.
As in all cases, the CPD encourages certain kinds of input from residents to aid in their investigations.
“We’re always open for receiving any type of video we can get from the community as far as ongoing or reported incident crime,” said Sergeant McCarthy.
Sergeant Schenk then turned the meeting into an open forum.
Warm weather accompanied by excessive noise from loud vehicles
Comments included reports of noise and illegal activity on West Huron St. near the Godfrey Hotel. According to one person, large gatherings of people have been congregating on the street and sidewalk and causing disturbances on a regular basis, and gunshots were overheard somewhere near the location in April.
Sergeant Schenk offered to follow-up on the report and asked the attendee to call him directly on the following day.
Another attendee remarked that a group of people have been regularly loitering, panhandling and relieving themselves near the 400 block of North State St. Sergeant Schenk noted that panhandling is not illegal, but the other two activities certainly are and they will be investigated.
A resident explained that a small group of men in their fifties appear to be dealing drugs on Oak St. near Larrabee St. on the west side of the River North neighborhood. The suspicion arises from the peculiar manner in which they pass a pack of cigarettes back and forth and reach into cars that frequently stop at the location.
Sergeant Schenk commented that the CPD would follow up on the comment.
There were also numerous complaints about incidents of excessive noise that occurred over the weekend beginning of May 2, when temperatures exceeded the 70-degree mark. One attendee speculated that loud motorcycles caused the racket. Another mentioned illegal drag racing on Lower Wacker Dr.
Sergeant Schenk admitted that unpleasant vehicular volume is a recurring warm-weather problem. He added that the CPD had performed two “missions” over those days to address it, and they would continue to do so throughout the summer.
“The (CPD) will be out there doing missions all throughout the summer,” he said. “There’s Lake Shore Drive and Ontario and LaSalle and Rush Street was one of them. If you see something, please do give us a call. We’re working together.”
The next CAPS meeting is scheduled to take place at 6:15 p.m. on July 2 at Access Living on 115 W. Chicago Ave. For more information, click here.