Police Hope Foot Patrols In Uptown Help Stem Last Summer’s Violence
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Sadly, the warm weather often means more crime. Jason in the Uptown neighborhood sent us an e-mail about a shooting this week near Truman College.
In this Original Report, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker caught up with officers walking the beat near the scene of the crime.
Police have already started working to make this upcoming summer different than the last, which was considered a hot one in Uptown.
Chicago Police didn’t share the number of violent crimes in the Uptown neighborhood last summer, but it was enough to make some changes. For the first time in recent years, cops are assigned to foot patrols.
They’re highly visible; police on foot, walking along Wilson Avenue. Their presence has helped calm the fears of residents who are worried about an increase in gang violence with warmer weather, which seems to have already started.
Around 10:30 p.m. Monday, there was a shootout in the alley right behind Truman College, according to local residents, approximately 30 minutes after students had left the campus.
Uptown resident Sharlanese Rowry said she heard five or six gunshots.
“They sounded like firecrackers, but then they got louder,” she said. “You’re like, ‘Oh my God, is they shooting?’ Then you hear the sirens coming, and stuff. It’s pretty dangerous around here when the weather breaks.”
No one was hurt, but students still worry.
“I actually travel from the South Side to this school, because it’s more diverse. I came here to kind of get away from that scenario type, and from that – the communities that surround Kennedy-King and Olive Harvey,” Truman student Kiana Itson said. “So I came up here. It’s more diverse, more multi-cultural, and to know that the violence is still happening, and that we’re still in danger is really, really scary.”
Fellow Truman student Lasharria Myles said, “It makes me distraught. It makes me not even want to come to school at nighttime.”
Police said they looking for the driver of a minivan that witnesses saw speeding down the alley, and they’re asking for residents to call if they saw anything, or just stop officers on the street.
Officers hope foot patrols will prompt more involvement from the community.
“I think it makes a difference, because it kind of forces the people to interact with police, because we’re out here, and not driving by 30 miles an hour in the cars,” Town Hall District Officer Steven Qualls said.
He said if people call police about crime in their neighborhood, maybe “the bad guy’s gotta figure out, you know, something’s going on here, maybe somebody’s calling, maybe somebody’s watching, so … maybe I shouldn’t do it.”
A Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy meeting for the neighborhood has been scheduled for next Tuesday. Police and community activists encouraged local residents to attend.