LAKEVIEW — Elected officials and business leaders in Lakeview said the neighborhood needs more police officers after it saw three shootings within a week, with the local alderman calling police staffing levels “unacceptable.”
The most recent shooting happened about 2:50 a.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of West Belmont Avenue: A 34-year-old woman was inside a bar when someone fired a shot that grazed her, police said. The woman was treated at the scene.
It was the third shooting within a week in the neighborhood.
On March 27, Hermilo Beltran, a 47-year-old restaurant worker, was fatally shot in an alley in the 3400 block of North Clark Street while heading to his job at Happy Camper, officials said. Police told his family they think he was killed in a robbery gone wrong.
Then, on Thursday, a 72-year-old woman was shot in her leg while walking in the 3100 block of North Broadway, police said. The drive-by happened near the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce office.
No one is in custody in the shootings.
“The North Side is very uncomfortable right now because this is not part of their quality of life that they have been used to for so many years,” said Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
The Wrigleyville and Broadway shootings were caught on security cameras, and police are using the footage in their investigations, Martino said.
“Will that lead to an arrest? We’re not sure if the evidence is strong enough to know who the shooter was,” Martino said. “But what we do know is that we are identifying some of the people that might have been involved or getting license plate numbers.”
Martino joined city leaders at a news conference Tuesday announcing the Home and business Protection Rebate Program, which will reimburse participating Chicagoans for security cameras and a year of video footage up to $450. She said security cameras have been helpful in solving crimes in Lakeview and more coverage would make the area safer.
“The business community should definitely have cameras up because if we can get evidence of any sort to the Police Department and the detectives can identify these criminals, then it’s easier to have them do time,” Martino said.
Ald. Tom Tunney’s office (44th) said he was not available to answer questions about the recent shootings. He called them “unacceptable” in an email newsletter to residents after the Broadway shooting.
“While shootings in the 44th Ward are rare, violence has been brought to our neighborhoods too often in the last few years,” Tunney wrote. “As I have stated numerous times both publicly and privately to the leadership in the Chicago Police Department, this is unacceptable.”
Tunney said he’s “repeatedly” demanded more police in Lakeview and he finds the 19th District’s staffing levels too low.
The alderman’s ideal staff count for the district is 400 officers, his office said. The Town Hall District had 302 members as of March.
“I have repeatedly called for more police presence in Lakeview, and I find it unacceptable that our 19th Police District staffing numbers are so low,” Tunney wrote in the newsletter.
Tunney was driving near the site of the Broadway shooting when it happened, and he was at the scene as the woman was wheeled into an ambulance, he wrote.
“I saw the anguish and anger I felt reflected in the faces of witnesses and others in the vicinity,” Tunney wrote.
Following a rise in carjackings and robberies in Lakeview in 2021, Tunney’s office has held public safety meetings with the neighborhood’s business chambers and community groups, he said.
Other crime-fighting measures Tunney supports include increased funding for the Police Department, enhanced technology resources like cameras and license plate readers and housing, he wrote.
“Going forward, I will continue [to] collaborate closely with the hardworking 19th District Police and I will provide updates to the community as they are made available to my office,” Tunney wrote.
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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