(Addition info on Business related crime, reposting from June 29th issue of Street Scene for the purpose or linking to an updated story in today's issue as I don't have archiving yet)
There were at least 15 sets of bright eyes at this past CAPS meeting, held on Tuesday, June 23rd at 9 a.m. in the community room of the 14th District Police HQ at 2150 N. California. The gathering included a special presentation on "Burglary Business Concerns" by Officer Ron Rufo, pictured. Fourth Police District Commander Lucio Martinez's opening comments noted that, "With the economy down, burglary is on the rise."
The increase in crimes unfortunately carries no pattern, though patterns are easier to distinguish when business owners work together, and utilize word of mouth, and phone trees to report suspicious behaviors, graffiti, break ins, bad checks, and counterfeit bills, among other concerns.
Since January, five homicides have taken place in the 14th District, which is one more than this same time last year. Two were gang related, one was road rage, and the other two Martinez couldn't recall, though he noted that one of the gang related homicides resulted in an arrest.
Graffiti is up all over the city, though arrests for graffiti in District 14 are up 20%, with eight new arrests since the last CAPS meeting on May 23rd.
In response to a question about the possibility of many of the graffiti offenders being from the suburbs, Martinez responded, "I wouldn't say that they are suburbanites, but many are Anglo American." According to Martinez, a recent offender caught tagging a local building was a 32-year-old restaurant manager from the suburbs.
Following Martinez's report, Officer Ron Rufo delivered a presentation focused on understanding the mind of the amateur burglar. Rufo emphasized the importance of a solid door, with a three screw deadbolt lock, noting that hollow doors with weak locks are too easily kicked in. He encouraged businesses to disconnect electrical garage doors, and to padlock them.
"Nobody likes to admit that they've gotten duped," Rufo noted. "Let others on the block know if it happens to you, because they will walk right up to the next shop." Rufo cautioned attendees not to be fooled by smooth dressers, and to "trust gut feelings."
In regards to motion detector lighting and surveillance cameras, there was some confusion about the Facade Rebate Program, and whether or not it covers half the cost, or up to one third of security cameras, or any portion at all. Per a representative from the Logan Square chamber, the reimbursement for security cameras has been discontinued, and pending further review.
Last year, with the help of an associate, Rufo examined 300 businesses to offer free advice on getting up to speed on security. To schedule a consultation, please contact Officer Rufo at 312-745-5838 Ext. 84652
In other news, the 14th District is planning its National Night Out Against Crime, slated for Tuesday, August 14th from 5 to 10 p.m. in the 14th District parking lot. Elvis impersonator Rick Saucedo will perform for two hours. Other entertainment includes a comedy show, petting zoo, motorcycle displays, a riding bull machine, rock climbing, and a "Dunk A Cop" dunk tank, among other attractions. The event is looking for business sponsorship, and accepting donations. The department is expecting at least 2,500 attendees again this year. If you'd like more information on the Night Out, or would like to donate, please call 312-744-1261, or via CAPS.014DISTRICT@CHICAGOPOLICE.ORG
The Next Business CAPS Meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 28th at 3 p.m. It will be geared toward owners of late night businesses such as bars, and clubs, with a focus on city ordinances.