Public safety oversight framework proposed
Days after issuing a joint letter on ward redistricting, a collection of community groups on Nov. 16 turned to public safety. Its joint statement on police and prosecution oversight will be reviewed in a 7pm Nov. 18 meeting at Nick's Beer Garden, 1516 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The Greater West Town Community Coalition, established in 2021 after Erin Groble and Sam Royko experienced a carjacking in Wicker Park, is working to bring elected officials, community stakeholders, and empowered neighbors together across all West Town communities. The coalition’s mission is to promote initiatives and alternatives for complex issues facing Chicago such as criminal justice reform, effective policing, and administrative reform.
Throughout 2021, West Town has suffered one vehicular hijacking every three days (99 as of October 31, 2021). West Town has seen the 2nd most vehicular hijackings for all community areas in Chicago. The West Town community zone includes, but is not limited to, Noble Square, East Village, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park, East Humboldt Park, West Town and Smith Park. An increase in vehicular hijackings is not a problem unique to West Town. The Austin, Garfield Park and North Lawndale communities rank first, third, and fourth for highest number of vehicular hijackings.
We ask that the City of Chicago:
- Provide quarterly reports on targeted public investment in all community zones focused on creating opportunities for youth and reducing youth engagement in criminal activity.
- Provide neighborhood-specific updates with representatives from local police districts in scheduled meetings with neighborhood associations and community organizations on local police enforcement, crime data and collaboration with the Cook County State’s Attorney Office (SAO) to prosecute vehicular hijacking cases.
- Provide an update on the forensic testing backlog, and any improvements being made by the City of Chicago to improve the overall program.
- Provide a summary on how the City of Chicago directly or indirectly funds violence diversion or rehabilitation programs, specifically for youth arrested for a vehicular hijacking occurrence.
We ask that Cook County:
- Provide ways in which neighborhood associations and community organizations can get updated bond hearing, sentencing and prosecution updates from the SAO.
- Provide contacts for neighborhood associations and community organizations for the SAO community justice centers.
- Provide a summary on how felony or misdemeanor charges can be applied to vehicular hijacking arrests depending on the information available to the arresting officer or to the office of SAO.
- Provide a summary on how sentencing guidelines are set for juveniles and adults found guilty of vehicular hijacking or criminal trespass to vehicle related to a vehicular hijacking occurrence, with contact information for local SAO representatives.
- Provide a summary on intervention and rehabilitation programs that judges may use or recommend during sentencing, with up-to-date retention rates.
- Provide an update on the forensic testing backlog, and any improvements being made by Cook County to improve the overall program.
- Provide a summary on how Cook County directly or indirectly funds diversion and rehabilitation programs, specifically for youth arrested for a vehicular hijacking occurrence.
- Provide a summary on how the point system works, as it applies to ranking cases with juvenile or adult offenders.
Thank you for your assistance on these matters, and please contact us at the information shared below.
The Greater West Town Community Coalition