EDGEWATER — Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) wants to boost building security and the police presence along Bryn Mawr Avenue following a recent uptick in shootings, including a possible murder-suicide inside an historical building.
Edgewater’s alderman announced the safety initiatives after a 23-year-old woman was killed last week in the Belle Shore apartment building, 1062 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. The victim, Brittany Nicole Kinlow, was a UIC student just days from graduation.
The following day, as police were executing a search warrant in the case, they found a man dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in the building. It may have been a murder-suicide, Osterman said at a community meeting Monday.
The murder is the latest shooting in Edgewater and the Bryn Mawr Avenue corridor, which has dealt with crime and loss of anchor businesses during the pandemic.
“Since Thanksgiving, it’s been a very hard year when it comes to safety in our community,” Osterman said at Monday’s community meeting on public safety. “I’ve been here a long time. Some of this stuff we’ve not seen before in our community.”
There have been seven shootings this year in the 20th Police District, which covers Lawrence Avenue to Peterson Avenue from Lake Michigan to the Chicago River.
At least four of those shooting took place in Edgewater, according to police and media reports. That includes the UIC student killed in her apartment building, a man who was hit in his leg while his dog was shot to death and two men shot during a fight on Winthrop Avenue. Another man was shot in February near the corner of Sheridan Road and Foster Avenue.
Carjackings have doubled in the district, with 61 this year through May 8, police statistics show. Other crimes, including robbery and burglary, have dipped this year compared to the same time period last year.
Osterman said he is working with police officials on a safety plan, especially for the Bryn Mawr Avenue area.
The alderman has asked for more police resources in the area, in particular the return of foot patrols along Bryn Mawr Avenue, he said. Osterman has also asked the Belle Shore and Bryn Mawr apartment buildings to add security at night and take measures to physically secure the properties, among other requests.
The historical apartment buildings, which received city assistance in a redevelopment, “have begun to slide down,” Osterman said.
The alderman has also asked the 7-Eleven at 1055 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. to add security after it was the source of 450 calls for police services last year, he said.
“I do not want to lose ground on the progress that has been made,” Osterman said.
Adding police resources to the area could be a challenge, Osterman and Cmdr. Brendan McCrudden said. The Police Department has faced officer shortages in recent years.
The staff shortage combined with an increase in calls has stretched local policing resources thin, McCrudden said. With the resumption of police academy classes, he hopes those trends can be reversed, he said.
“We want our manpower to be back where it was,” McCrudden said. “It’s going to take a little while.”
Another factor facing Bryn Mawr Avenue is the loss of local restaurants.
The corridor has lost stalwart businesses, including Francesca’s, Nookies and Mama K’s Cafe. A Starbucks closed temporarily and has since reopened. Businesses, including BB.Q Chicken and Hooked On Fish, have opened on the street.
The local business community has been impacted by Red Line construction in the area. A rebuilt Red Line will help the business community, but more needs to be done now while construction is ongoing, Osterman said.
“COVID, crime and construction have been really hard on Bryn Mawr,” he said. “The challenge for us is getting from here right now … to that point in time” when the Red Line is completed.
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