Some downturn in crime but warnings about locking your doors and other issues at CAPS 1424 meeting


Liz Rios, Mark Amundson, Officer Chavez and Sgt. Reyes

Good news, concerns and warnings were all part of the CAPS Beat 1424 meeting, Wed., June 5, in the Wicker Park Field House. Representing the 14th Police District were CAPS Sergeant Felipe Reyes, Officer Chavez and CAPS Community Organizer Liz Rios.

Reyes reported the top ten crime statistics within the beat between Apr. 11 and June 5. The good news is that several categories of crime are down such as Motor Vehicle Theft, which went from 16 down to 9, and Forced Entry Burglary, which went from 13 down to 8. On the other hand, Reyes pointed out that several of the Unlawful Entry Burglaries were where people left their doors open. 

"Lock your doors, lock your gates. Slow them [burglars] down, do not make it easy for them," Reyes advised. It just takes a minute for someone to walk into your garage or house, grab as much as possible and leave. 

Most importantly, Reyes warned about keeping your cell phone hidden when you are on the street, particularly at night.  Their advice is to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention. 

Nick Sommers, long-time Wicker Park resident, related to this reporter two incidents he observed recently that emphasized how important it is to be vigilant at all times.  A skateboarder rolling north on Hoyne about to reach North Ave., oblivious to his surrounding  as he was texting on his phone with earphones securely in place.  Fortunately no accident occurred but the possibility level was high. On the north side of North Ave. at Hoyne, a driver's vision of a westbound female cyclist on North Ave. was blocked by  a large parked truck on North Ave. The outcome of that encounter was that the cyclist was injured. 

Reyes shared a story about dealing with an automobile driver talking on his cell phone who cut him off. It took Reyes about 5 minutes to pull him over because he was talking on his phone. He got out of his car went up to the driver who knew he was a police officer. The driver said, "Wait just a minute until I finish my conversation."  Reyes waited. When he finished his conversation he rolled down his window and said, "What can I do for you sir?" 

"What did you do," asked a resident. "I issued him several citations. One for a moving violation, another for cutting me off, broken taillight…we wrote about 5 citations. His response was that he didn't know that [talking on the phone while driving] was illegal." 

Beat Facilitator Mark Amundson, a Wicker Park resident, commented that when looking at the crimes and their severity, they are minimal in comparison to what they were a few years ago, "The Police Department has really done a phenomenal job of turning around our neighborhood. For two years in a row, the 14th District had the lowest crime statistics in all 25 districts. And, the 14th District does not end at Western. It goes way west." 

A question about abandoned cars on Wabansia St. resulted in a discussion about permit parking and it was pointed out that permit parking is not allowed on commercial streets. Wabansia is a commercial street. 

A vehicle is considered abandoned if it has not been moved in more than 7 days. If a car is abandoned, and you do not know who owns it, write down the information about it. Record the make, model, number of doors, color, license plate number, whether it has an up-to-date city and/state sticker (on the license plate). Then call 311, say that you want to report an abandoned car and tell them you want a reference number. It is important to get the reference number. You can follow-up with the Alderman's office, you can also report this to the CAPS office. In the 14th District, the email is The vehicle will be ticketed and if it is not moved within



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