CHICAGO (CBS) — A North Side alderman is making a case for people becoming court advocates, by showing up in court in cases involving their community, no matter how “minor” the alleged crime.

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) sent out an e-letter to residents recently, asking people to turn out when a man goes to court on Aug. 26 for stealing a bicycle from someone’s Gold Coast garage.

“This particular criminal has a long criminal record, including several felony convictions. So, this is not just a bike theft. This is a professional criminal who we would like to put back behind bars,” Smith said.

According to Smith, unless people show up to court in Skokie in a week and a half, there’s a chance the courts might be too lenient on the alleged bike thief.

She said she wants to send a message that “crime is not welcome.”

“When a community turns out in the court advocacy program to show that they want a perpetrator to be prosecuted, that has a real impact on the quality of justice that we get,” Smith said.