Friday, May 29, 2009

Violent Crime Skyrockets in Rogers Park

UPDATE 5/21/09: The Real Straight Dope - Rogers Park More Dangerous Than Admitted ---------------------------- Come on up to Rogers Park, enjoy some theater on the violent Morse Avenue. Perhaps you'd like some Jamaican food on the even more violent Howard Street. Take a walk along the drug infested, alcohol soaked Loyola Beach. Visit the office of 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore, located in a strip mall (just two blocks from his home) at W. Jarvis and N. Greenview, an intersection that sees more than its share of murders, prostitution and armed robberies. Come on up to Rogers Park. Wear a Kevlar vest if you have one, and don't forget your pepper spray.

Alderman Moore is infamous for frequently saying that "crime is down" year after year in spite of numbers that said otherwise. So, it was a surprise to see today's email blast to constituents.

Moore tried to soften the bad news by first telling us that "total index crime in the 24th Police District fell 1.3% in 2008 as compared to 2007." (We're not sure why, by the way, Moore did not send this email blast weeks ago; the statistics were reported publicly in mid-January.)

Although that is true, it is misleading and Moore knows it. The 24th District is much larger than the 49th Ward and includes Edgewater and West Ridge, as shown in the map found at the 24th District's website. (That website, by the way, still shows Steve Caluris as the Commander, even though he was replaced by David Sobczyk back in November, 2008.)

Rogers Park crime is extremely high by national standards. Violent crime near N. Sheridan and W. Jarvis, spitting distance from Ald. Moore's own home, is more than 10 times the national median and more than four times the Chicago median; violent crime per 1,000 residents is 55, compared to 12 per 1,000 for Chicago overall and 5.7 per 1,000 for Illinois (source:

Moore ended his email today with this pie-in-the-sky statement: "Together, we will make the 49th Ward the safest ward in the city!" As the numbers above show, that isn't saying much. Perhaps Ald. Moore should tape this list to a wall in his ward service office:

THE NINE DANGER SIGNS OF ORGANIZED CRIME (List source: Social acceptance of hoodlums in decent society Your community’s indifference to ineffective local government Notorious mobster personalities in open control of businesses Deceptive handling of public funds Interest at very high rates to poor risk borrowers (the juice loan) Close association of mobsters and local authorities Arson and bombings Terrorized legitimate businesses Easily found gambling, narcotics and prostitution

Moore provided no links to the report in today's email blast, so we will. You can see the "Index Crime January-December 2008" report at this link; more reports are at this link.

We've added links to related news stories, which you can find after the full text of Moore's Feb. 5 email: 

Statistics Reveal Mixed Results on Crime

Dear Neighbor, The Chicago Police Department released its 2008 crime statistics, and it's a mixed bag for our neighborhood. The good news is that total index crime in the 24th Police District fell 1.3% in 2008 as compared to 2007. 

The 24th District was one of only four police districts in the city that experienced an overall reduction in index crime. Citywide, index crime was up 2.5%. Index crimes include violent crimes, such as murder, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault and aggravated battery, and serious property crimes, such as burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The 2008 drop in overall crime continues a trend that began in our neighborhood in the mid-1990s with the introduction of community policing. 

Since 1994, index crime in the 24th District has fallen by over 50%. The news is not all good, however. The statistics reveal an increase in violent index crime in the 24th District, mostly due to a sharp increase in robberies in the Howard Street area. 

The 24th District saw a 13.9% increase in violent index crime, including a 28.4% increase in robberies. This spike in robberies and other violent crime led 24th District Police Commander David Sobczyk to launch his Howard Street anti-crime initiative, which includes an increased police presence and zero tolerance strategy in the Howard Street area. Commander Sobczyk just started his new job in January, and is determined to bring down the violent crime levels in our neighborhood. Making our neighborhood safe is not just a police responsibility--it's everyone's responsibility. 

The safest neighborhoods are the neighborhoods where the residents get involved. I urge you to join the hundreds of community residents who attend CAPS meetings and who vigilantly report any incidents of crime and suspicious behavior. Neighborhood safety is truly a team effort, and the 49th Ward boasts the most active and committed citizenry of any ward in the city. 

If you haven't yet done so, I urge you to become involved with CAPS , Chicago's community policing effort. Citizens meet with the police officers who patrol their neighborhood every month in each of the nine police beats in the 24th District. Together, the police and citizens identify neighborhood hotspots and develop crime reduction strategies. 

Together, we will make the 49th Ward the safest ward in the city! 

 Sincerely, Joe Moore