CHICAGO (CBS) — Neighbors in Brighton Park are working hard to protect their homes, only to find their security cameras getting smashed.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Tuesday night, it is believed the vandalism targeting the security cameras is the work of known gang members. Many in the Brighton Park community were too scared even to talk about the terror they’re experiencing.
Drive around Brighton Park and you’re bound to find several security cameras mounted on homes and garages. Many homeowners want to make sure they’re safe when they pull into alleys.
“And our cameras are going to be able to capture all the movement of anybody hiding,” said one Brighton Park resident.
But the vandals do not hide. In fact, they are in plain sight. In one video, you can see man walking by just moments before men get to work destroying security cameras installed in alleys near 45th Street off Western Avenue.
“It proves that in my mind, they don’t want these cameras here,” the resident said. “Apparently it’s destroying or it’s interfering with their business.”
He said that business in an illegal business, associated with a neighborhood gang. And the 30-year Brighton Park resident who talked with us about the situation hid his identity out of concern about that.
“I know the consequences. I know what can happen,” he said. “We hear the shots every night throughout this neighborhood.”
“I’m surprised by the gang members’ brazenness,” said Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th).
And now they’re going after security cameras.
“It’s the same group,” Lopez said, “and they think they’re untouchable when it comes to what they want to do in the neighborhood.”
As Lopez works closely with Chicago Police to help identify the men destroying the cameras, the homeowner we spoke with is already prepared to install more.
Sure, it’s expensive, but he said, what’s the other option – giving up?
“Don’t shut up. Don’t shut your blinds from your windows. Open it so you can see what’s happening, and when you see something happen, call 911,” he said.
The videos of the men coming up to destroy the cameras have been turned over to Chicago Police. Lopez understands many may be fearful to call police out of fear of being targeted by gangs, but he is reminding people they can call his office too and he will pass along tips.
Residents can also go to the 15th Ward website.