RAVENSWOOD MANOR — After a surge in gun violence in recent months, Ravenswood Manor and Albany Park neighbors said they’re relieved to know more officers, technology and violence interrupters are coming to help.
But more still needs to be done to curb violence in the long term, they said.
Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th) announced Friday nine additional officers were assigned to the 17th Police District on the Northwest Side, where shootings and murders have more than doubled since last year. Police leaders have said the violence stems from escalating gang-related conflicts.
Neighbors have demanded police and elected officials add more resources to combat the violence, including by bringing in more officers.
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) previously said some police resources shifted to Downtown due to the ongoing protests and civil unrest over police misconduct.
But after some neighbors complained, and elected officials sent letters to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police leaders, the city began moving those resources back to the 17th District at the end of September, Rodriguez said last month.
Chicago Police also recently installed a temporary surveillance camera at the intersection of Montrose and California avenues, just north of Horner Park, neighbors said.
Bette Rosenstein, president of the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association, said she and other residents were told the camera can capture detailed images between the Chicago River and Kedzie Avenue.
“Things seem to have quieted down over the last week and we’re all very grateful for that,” Rosenstein said.
Misha Mann, president of the Residents of Irving Park and a co-founder of the Northwest Safety Coalition, said her group is also grateful for the additional officers and it’s a step in the right direction to have the 17th District fully staffed.
Violence interrupters from Metropolitan Family Services should be coming within the next few weeks, Rodriguez said.
“It’s my understanding that they’re still in the process of screening and hiring people,” Rodriguez told Block Club on Tuesday. “They should be in the community sometime in November.”
Violence interrupters are just as needed as tactical police teams to curb the violence over the long term, Mann said.
“Getting people to stop shooting is step one. And then we have to find out why they’re shooting and address those issues. There’s lots of work to be done, and it needs to be a collaborative effort,” Mann said.
Not all neighbors wanted more police officers.
Albany Park resident Sandra Gutstein launched a petition Sept. 22 asking for local officials to invest more money in community outreach, housing stability and violence interrupter programs, among other things, instead of more police.
The petition had more than 696 signatures as of Tuesday.
Police are seeking community input to help draft the 17th District’s new strategic plan focused on crime enforcement and community engagement. The first of two meetings focused on drafting the new plan is happening via Zoom 6 p.m. Wednesday. Go here to RSVP.
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