HPKCC Community Safety Focus Group
This page is brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Community Safety Focus Group and WhistleStop Committee, and the HPKCC website, www.hydepark.org. Support our work: get involved and Join the Conference! Contact our office. Contact the President.
Visit report on
HPKCC's April 19, 2010 "Keeping
YOU and Your Computer Safe" seminar.
Poisonous Houseplants (in pdf, from On the Safe Side -Timika Hoffman Zoller) Note that seriousness of exposure to aloe vera and poinsettia are disputed.
December 10, 10 am-1 pm. (HPKCC) Is reactivating the WhistleStop program. We are sponsoring a Whistle Day on this coming Saturday, December 10, from 10AM-2PM. We are seeking volunteers, especially people knowledgeable about the WhistleStop program, to man stations in Harper Court and the Hyde Park Shopping Center. We need at least 8 people to sell whistles in 2-hour slots. Call Stephanie Franklin at 773-955-3622 to volunteer to sell whistles on that day. Thanks.
WHAT IS A BLOCK CLUB please
visit this link: https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/BlockClub/Resources/WhatIs
Police contacts in a nutshell
2nd District Police commander - email@example.com his responsibility is most of east Hyde Park.
The police commander responsible for the park area just south of 56th Street to 57th Street and beyond is ____ Jackson. His responsibility includes the Iowa Building,
The individuals responsible for parking enforcement in parks (in the lot at 55th & South Shore Drive and preventing loitering in the Iowa Building) are the chief, Thomas.Byrne@chicagoparkdistrict.com and Lorenzo.Chew@chicagoparkdistrict.com.
University of Chicago Police procedures were criticized in a Independent Review Committee report issued in August 2010 on an incident at the Library February 2010. "The UCD must make improving its investigative procedures a priority going forward," the Herald quotes. This was a situation, the report says, involving excalation until an arrest-- and a record for the arrestee-- is unavoidable. Recommendations are included, some of which are already being implemented.
Meetings and forums
First Response Team (CERT). Timika Hoffman-Zoller, HPKCC Safety Co-chair, writes:
I am a CERT - a volunteer emergency first responder for the City of Chicago.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is free and offers an all-risk, all-hazard training designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood in an emergency situation. The CERT 20-hour program educates citizens about disaster preparedness and trains individuals in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology disaster medical operations, and terrorism and homeland defense. http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/oem/provdrs/edu/svcs/become_a_cert_volunteer.html.
It’s a valuable course and I would like to encourage everyone in the community to take it because the more of my friends and neighbors who are trained the more it will help lighten the burden should an emergency arise. Then after taking the 20 hour course, you’ll have a choice of taking the CERT knowledge for your own personal use or you can also consider becoming a volunteer first responder for the City. Then when emergencies happen, you will be able to give critical support to first responders, and provide immediate assistance to victims. Also, as a CERT member you can also assist with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community. I must add that we CERTs have a great time throughout the year by participating in a variety of educational, fun, and free refreshers first responder activities.
So please consider taking the CERT course. You can email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when the next CERT classes are coming up.
April 13 2015 the University released changed policies on transparency and streamlined information online (Safety and Security website). Most will start in June, a few immediately. The information that will be available includes traffic stops and field contacts ("cards") and the full info therein including race and gender, whether there was a search or arrest- and if so the ongoing tracking report and recommendations of the independent review committee and related IDOT and Chicago Police reports. (review and disposition and appeal procedures are not addressed here.) Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lynch hoped this would become a model for all such departments and thanked all those who gave input. The revised website divisions were given.
CAPS meeting dates often are changed in November and December-- check CLEARpath site or call 312 747-2930 for 21st district, or the number of the relevant other district.
Violent crimes are sharply down to historic lows, but burgalries continue to soar and violent crimes are certainly occurring.
a new Community Safety Action program from HPKCC, using as its core a revitalized
WhistleSTOP (what's that?) and
personal safety instruction and training and cooperative action. Details in
that page (including Herald coverage). Interested in helping? We must build
a volunteer corps if we are to help make "Hyde Park the safest
community in Chicago" What?! Believing is Doing. Forums and seminars
start in June. Call the Conference at 773 288-8343.
Save the date- October 16, 2010 for a seminar on child-parent safety, particularly on the internet, a follow up to our April 24 seminar, Keeping You and Your Computer Safe.
Committee campaign inaugural statement: Stand up to crime in Hyde Park
Violent crime in our neighborhood can STOP. We can STOP feeling helpless and stand up to crime. The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference invites all residents to participate in the Hyde Park WhistleSTOP community action safety program.
The WhistleSTOP program was initiated 25 years ago as a way to empower Hyde Park residents to take safe action during a crime.
The premise is for our entire community to be in possession of a whistle. When a crime occurs, the victim or witnesses blow their whistles alerting other fellow Hyde Parkers who will in turn blow their whistles while moving toward the direction of the first whistle blown.
The blowing of whistles calls attention to the crime in action, bringing the crime to an abrupt halt and attracting the attention of the police in the area. The ultimate success of this community action safety program is when criminals know that Hyde Park is no longer safe for them.
What can you do to create a safer Hyde Park? Buy a WhistleSTOP whistle through the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference or a WhistleSTOP distributor for $2. Be a WhistleSTOP building or block leader by distributing whistles to residents in your building or on your block. Attend the area CAPS meetings. Attend a free Street Safety Seminar.
Most importantly, blow your whistle when your fellow Hyde Parker is in need. Let's model the behavior we desire from our neighborhood.
Whistles can be purchased at the courtesy booth in the 55th Street Co-op. for more information, to join the WhistleSTOP program as a volunteer, or to purchase additional whistles, call the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference at 288-8343 or email us at email@example.com.
Joanne Howard, Bill Pavelec, WhistleSTOP Committee, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference
Three Conference-in-Action initiatives are the Public Safety Focus a Whole of the Board focus described below, WhistleSTOP reinvigoration and campaign, and organized public discussion such as the October 19 "What's Right and What's Wrong with Hyde Park-Kenwood", which produced several comments on Safety (presented below and to be further explored in a "white paper." (See below.)
At the September 18 2005 HPKCC Annual Meeting, Hank Webber, Ald. Hairston and Ald. Preckwinkle discussed, inter alia, the west Hyde Park situation. All connected it to the CHA clear out and gangs adjusting drug sale territories. They said just a few families with a bad apple can cause lots of trouble. They are working on removing those families as well as beefing up patrols. A neighborhood association/ Bessie Coleman Park council has also formed. The alderman are trying to get the States Attorney's office to change its mind on how it charges parties under certain conditions. At the December board meeting, HPKCC members thought little progress has been made despite arrests and designation (Hidden for nearly two months) of the 4800 block of Drexel as a "gang loitering hot spot."
HPKCC commends the newly formed Kenwood Improvement Association for making safety issues a major priority and forming block clubs with CAPS.
The Conference office received numerous inquiries in response to WhistleSTOP ads run by the Conference in autumn 2005 in the Hyde Park Herald, Lakefront Outlook, and Co-op Evergreen. Numerous whistles have been sold out of the office- call 773 288-8343--(which we will do locally and without shipping them when quantities are needed) and the 55th Hyde Park Herald Service Desk. The whistles are $2 and come with an instruction leaflet. "A Blow for Safety: WhistleSTOP": A program of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Full information is in the WhistleSTOP Committee page.
Committee and Program
To Public Safety and emergency help. This page has many tips and much commentary.
To Robberies Spike- our "latest updates and evaluations" Public Safety homepage
To U of C institutional and student responses to recent incidents; contacts
To Resolution and Letter to Supt Cline asking Hot Spot designation for Coleman Pk area
To CAPS News includes more tips
To Business/Community and Students/Youth Relations page
To Quality of Life
To Setting Neighborhood Goals
To Tracking Community Trends I and II
of relations of students and business and perceptions of a gulf between youth
and adults in Hyde Park are in Business
and Students and News of Schools-Kenwood.
Discussion of students and the early-mid 2005 robberies/batteries is in the
For University of Chicago safety and UC Police information contacts: Neighborhood Links, Public Safety. Get UC alerts and bulletins: security email alerts, type subscribe aware.
City and beyond: Government Services, CAPS News, Public Safety.
· Table 1 Increase early evening activities for teens and adults and make sure they can get there safely.
· Table 1 Police courts and ? in schools and community
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public spaces, e.g., no bike riding on sidewalks, no panhandling….
· Table 2 Community outreach/WhistleStop
· Safety, better lighting
· Crime and safety in West Hyde Park
· Drug issues
· Parents and children trained in Neighborhood Watch
PARKS (1 of 6)
· More (crime?) prevention needed in parks
SCHOOLS AND TEENAGERS(possibly 4 of 6)
· control of high school students who are “acting our.”
· Noisy, foul-mouthed teenagers who have no sense of shame
· HP/Kenwood students who are arrested have to participate in major community service activities.
· ? Reorganize (which) school boundary
The Conference, in response to concerns of members and its board's observations, decided in late 2004 to form a Community Safety Focus Group. Almost the entire board met with South East Chicago Commission executive director Bob Mason at that time. The key committee chairs have met to discuss options and strategy. The Board met with Hank Webber of the University of Chicago, where we stressed how critical was the early 2005 spate of attacks and teen/high school involvement in them. The University soon after issued a major alert. There was varied but increasingly worried community and community organization/business response. Kenwood Academy both showed that blame was overly placed on the school and took vigorous action, also inviting community members and stakeholders and the Chamber of Commerce to learn about the school and help generate solutions and alternatives for teens. The wave of teen attacks abated but never entirely ended. Read more about the crisis in Robberies Spike page, which is also the general Safety update page. Also Business/community and Student/youth page.)
The Conference continues
to ponder and act on these matter, for crime remains considerably up and alternatives
for youth have not been put in place. See below the articles in the Spring 2005
and Autumn 2005 Conference Reporter. We also urge attendance at the
many community meetings on these matters, from CAPS to to school council meetings
and open houses and Conference forums and board meetings.
In the past, of course, an ongoing focus of the Conference has been public safety, since 1949: we were born in a community crisis, of which safety- and often misperception about it--was a major part and cause of crisis. We knew well in those days how much crime is intertwined with a host of other community and social conditions. In the 1970s, HPKCC introduced the continuing WhistleStop program and continued work on social and community programs and amenities that can intervene to counter crime.
In the 1990s we became involved in promoting CAPS and disseminated safety information in the Reporter and by other means. Following the list of links find the Focus Group's first report, from the Winter 2005 Reporter, and the second from the Spring issue. Your comments and ideas are appreciated- firstname.lastname@example.org or the president.
The Conference Reporter. Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Vol. 11, No. 1. Winter 2005
The Conference in Action:
Responding to the strongly expressed opinions of many members, the HPKCC Board voted at its December meeting to form a working group to focus on "community safety." Because of its importance, this focus group would consist of the current chairs of the committees on Condos/Coops, Parks, Schools, and Transit, since safety impacts each of these areas. The Board reached its decision on the basis of a shared sense that, due to what seems to be increased reports in Hyde Park of car jackings, knifings, more visible drug dealing, and more widespread threatening and intimidating behavior, safety is a growing concern for the future well-being of our neighborhood.
Many board members expressed first-hand experiences with drug dealers and threats of violence, especially in the blocks adjacent to 53rd Street. Some expressed concern that the Chicago and campus police are over-extended and not patrolling 534d, since Hyde Park is viewed as a relatively safe area; others felt that CAPS meetings were ineffectual.
On Dec. 15, interested Board members met with Bob Mason, head of the South East Chicago Commission. The fact that 15 out of 18 Board members attended emphasized the board's concern. Mr. Mason pointed out that HP-K generally ranks well in the city as a safe neighborhood, but saw a 5% increase in robberies and a 28% increase burglaries from 1999 to 2003 (figure 1, "Common Sense: Your Guide to Safe Urban Living 2004-05," by the University of Chicago); the same report shows an 11% drop in violent crime and a 59% drop in sexual assaults for the same period.
The Conference Board met with Hank Webber on this and other matters.
The Conference may meet with area police district commanders. Efforts will continue to publicize the WhistleStop program. Other actions may include a community survey, requesting empty stores on 53rd Street to turn on their lights a night, and a possible public forum on safety.
Three updates on Community Safety and Community Relations from the Spring 2005 Conference Reporter. Note that there has been a strong fall off in crime since, but serious attacks do continue, some still involving young people. (Note caveats below on stereotyping the latter and in Public Safety on profiling in general.) Some of the improvement is due to U of C and city police close collaboration.
By James Withrow, Vice President
The recent assaults near the 53rd Street business district has sadly affirmed the Conference's interest in the deterioration of civil behavior in that area. The Conference Board will discuss this issue in early May in an effort to find our role in ending the assaults and stemming stereotyping of teenagers by businesses, residents, and local authorities.
Late last year, several Conference directors expressed concerns about a worsening social environment. Bob Mason from the South East Chicago Commission took the time talk with a group of us about those concerns, but, at that time, the crime statistics didn't reveal anything untoward. Hank Webber, the university's Vice-President for Community Affairs, attended our March meeting and answered our questions for over an hour. Again, complaints were made about safety in our business district and again it was pointed out that crime statistics weren't showing anything unusual.
A few days later, I encountered Webber and he expressed a great deal of concern over perceptions by residents that 53rd street was unsafe. He was now of the opinion that hostile activities were underway that weren't being reported as crimes. As we all know now, plenty of crimes were then reported in late March.
Apparently,the worsening social climate led some business to change how they treated teenagers at lunch time, including a separate seating area at McDonald's. On March 31, a high school student found no seats available in the separate area and took a table in the regular area. when McDonald's security personnel told her to move to the student area, she refused. McDonald's called the police, who handcuffed her and returned her to Kenwood High School.
Promoting civil behavior along 53rd Street means ending physical assaults and verbal harassment, but not at the cost of stereotyping all teenagers as troublemakers. the Conference will seek to find its role to play, perhaps helping to develop a covenant among teenagers, businesses, residents, and the authorities.
More from the Spring 2005 Reporter:
Throughout this year, it seems that neighborhood safety has been the number 1 issue in our board discursions, overshadowing retail development, parking, schools, the CTA and other concerns. At our last [April 2005] meeting, the board voted to devote most of our May meeting to that one issue, and the role that HPKCC should play next.
In this issue of the Reporter, I have requested some of our board members to express their ideas and opinions, starting with the lead analysis and report by Gary Ossewaarde; these do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire board, but are intended to stimulate discussion and feedback from all of our members.
A different perspective was offered by Joy Nieda, board member and owner of a local business, "Rhythm 'n Moves":
The rash of recent random attacks on Hyde Parkers by teenagers has been very upsetting to most of us. Although I have not felt concerned for my own personal safety, I am concerned for those whose lives have been circumscribed by fear. Above all, I am concerned that there are a significant number of young people in our neighborhood who feel angry and hostile toward other segments of the community. My reaction is to continue conscious efforts to be interested, involved, and neighborly toward those who might feel disenfranchised and not included in the positive offerings of our lives here.
The ultimate solution to this and other problems confronting Hyde Park-Kenwood is to be responsible. Responsibility can take many forms: call the police or campus security the next time you see a drug deal in progress, participate in your Local School Council, go to a CAPS meeting. But most of all take responsibility--be involved.
George W. Rumsey, April 28, 2005
More from the Spring 2005 Conference Reporter
By Gary Ossewaarde
Community safety and community
relations have become front burner issues in Hyde Park and Kenwood since the
previous issue of the Reporter advised of HPKCC concern and actions on the matter.
The main action of our board since was to meet in March with Hank Webber, University
of Chicago Vice President of Community Affairs. Among several community matters
discussed, our board expressed strong concern about increases in crime, teen
violence, and threatening conditions on 53rd Street. Members related personal
unpleasant and threatening experiences. They also noted the, frankly, lead role
of the University in setting the tone and conditions in the whole neighborhood
and the critical and generally positive effect of the University of Chicago
In April Mr. Webber, the University and the South East Chicago Commission issued community alerts. In this writer’s opinion, the alerts, if a bit late, were calm and set forth facts, actions that have been taken, and what citizens can do to stay safe. Some have found the alerts alarmist and racially offensive. Media, especially city and national, saw fit to play the matter as a front-page and unique crisis, ignoring other areas where criminal and threatening behavior are much more prevalent and blackening our essentially sound neighborhood and the whole Kenwood Academy student body.
The particularly alarming—apparently most unusual—series of random teenage attacks seemed to halt in early April due in large part to increased police coverage and tactics, arrests of 33 teens, (10 being Kenwood students), a series of assemblies and suspensions and expulsion proceedings in Kenwood and other schools, meetings of officials and police with school officers, and citizen caution.
As reported in media and at the April CAPS police beat citizen meetings, one of the most disturbing aspects of the teen attacks is the unconcerned, “blasé” attitude of arrested perpetrators and statements by teens, involved in the incidents and not, that they were bored, pent-up for hours in school, and “thirsty” for something to do; other reasons given by youth is to gain rank and standing.
Many citizens, and elected officials, who spoke up at the Beat 2131/2133 meeting at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (perhaps the most heavily attended ever) and at the April 23 town meeting held by state Representative Barbara Currie and state Senator Kwame Raoul wanted a stop to the recent attacks. But they also reflected that raising youth to have responsibility and respect is very difficult. Denial, thinking it’s “not my kid,” overprotecting on the one hand or condemning all teens on the other, or expecting schools to carry most of the load of raising kids were generally thought to be unhelpful. Suggested were: providing real and swift consequences for unacceptable behaviors—but keeping these within the juvenile, not adult, corrective system, “adoption” and mentoring of youthful offenders by religious congregations, more social services, more recreational facilities and useful things to do, and counters to influences from negative elements in modern culture (a concern also echoed at the recent U of C conference on Hip-Hop).
Police recounted that at
assemblies they pointed out to youth the dire trajectory and outcomes for those
who go down the wrong path: These activities are not games and won’t be
tolerated. Police were sympathetic but unlikely to act on suggestions that foot
patrols be increased so that police could personally get to know and guide (or
at least deter) youth and others. All hoped the present outbreak has come to
an end, but realize that such problems require ongoing attention. Our legislators
are implementing or looking at a number of reforms to the justice and social
To put things in perspective, even this year’s crime statistics show much less crime in the area than a few years ago—one wonders how we coped then, and the current state of concern and anger arose from several distinct but intertwined problems, some long-term, some new, some localized and some neighborhood- and city-wide. They came to a head with the outbreak of attacks and with the arrest of a student at McDonald’s for being outside the “student area,” which called attention to youth behavior and relations with businesses and adults in general.
But for years at CAPS meetings, residents have brought up their problems with rowdy, often drug-selling, night crowds of youth and young men on the corners, parks and schoolyards, particularly but far from exclusively in the western part of the neighborhood—which took up half the time at the April 21 CAPS meeting. Similarly complaints or alerts are of long standing about “patterns” and “spikes” in robberies and burglaries, problems on 53rd Street and Harper, and behavior of some Kenwood students during their noon breaks, both on the street and inside businesses.
Separate sections and rules for students or juveniles should be a last resort, but as Alderman Hairston said at the April 23 town meeting, such rules don’t appear for no reason, and rules and expectations for good behavior are evidently necessary. This writer applauds the call by University of Chicago professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell and others for a “covenant” of expected behaviors and respect between teens and business proprietors. Several businesses now successfully serve large numbers of students during the lunch hours without problems. “Closing” the Kenwood campus will probably be visited, but the wisdom and practicality of this is problematic. The HPKCC Schools Committee is considering Kenwood’s issues and future direction.
Even as the recent outbreak ends and is, it is hoped, replaced by serious address of youth in society, we need to give similar consideration of causes, dynamics and solutions to general crime, drugs and gangs, and the homeless in our community and beyond and to address amelioration of 53rd Street.
Members observed that several matters having to do with crime, quality of life, and youth relations, several not connected with each other, have been conflated in people's minds. One of the best things we can do is gather accurate and complete information and communicate this to the community. This will be handled through the schools committee for board reports and the next Reporter. (In addition, we will also use the website and media, as well as possibly via schools or other forums later.) Several volunteers stepped forward to gear up WhistleStop.
By Gary Ossewaarde
The spate of youth
attacks and robberies may have receded, but there is enough crime to keep people
wary, and hopefully, street smart.
Attacks continue, even if at “background level,” on individuals or small groups at any time of day or night and any part of Hyde Park or Kenwood and by adult as well as younger perpetrators. Some act alone and others have accomplices. Many are teens preying on other teens. Nearly all assailants have or claim to have some kind of weapon and many operate from and escape in cars.
Most disconcerting, next to the earlier youth outbreaks, is a year-long rise in violent crime in west Hyde Park and Kenwood--homicides, attacks and gang and drug activity and large, rowdy groups, much of this close to schools. Aldermen Hairston and Preckwinkle and city and University of Chicago police initiated ongoing meetings with residents. There is increased policing and police coordination in that area. The emptying out of much of CHA, some say, is partially responsible for the increase in crime.
Another issue is increasing illegal activity, rowdiness, and attacks in parks, sometimes with the activity going on all night long. Getting police to close the parks at curfew and arrest perpetrators has been difficult, despite those who faithfully report problems.
What works, at least partially?
CAPS and related
community meetings do get the police to focus on particular problems when many
people speak up on the same problem, such as parking enforcement, which was
the focus of attendees at the July Beat 2132 (east Hyde Park) meeting. How long
the requested focus can last given heavy demands on police time is problematic.
But we shouldn’t drop out just because problems sometimes just keep coming
up with little evidence of progress. And CAPS has many programs for citizen
involvement and follow up.
A flood of calls to 911 or, 311 depending on seriousness, (including multiple calls by the same person(s)) seems to get at least short-term attention—the current regime pays attention to dots on the map. Besides calling 911 (asking for a case number), one should call the police district—almost all of our neighborhood is in the 21st, leaving a message with the commander’s office. And be sure to call your aldermanic office, and if the problem is in a park, park district police and the park supervisor or area manager—most will share a number at which they can be quickly reached.
Call or meet with your alderman and ask for the long-term solution or strategy.
Work with organizations dedicated to going to bat for citizens, improving conditions or providing information and services to residents and businesses in dealing with crime, including local park councils, the Conference, Chamber of Commerce, and others.
Join your neighbors in keeping eyes and ears open. And be on the street yourself—numbers make a big difference. Thank goodness for the late evening pet walkers.
Be street smart yourself, learning how to respond to different situations. And carry your whistle and know when to use it. Refer to the public safety pages in our website, www.hydepark.org. Call the office if you need a whistle and instructions, 773 288-8343.
By Joanne Howard
The mission of the HPKCC calls for residents to participate in community activities so we all can promote, enhance, and maintain the type of environment all of us can call home. The Hyde Park Herald covers newsworthy events each week and, unfortunately, ends up having to cover activities that we would like to keep away from our doorsteps.
What I've noticed in my morning walks are higher incidence of graffiti on buildings and smashed car windows. these activities get short shrift in crime reports, but they are a stain on the neighborhood and t he psychology of the witness. Community activists, the University of Chicago, the South East Chicago Commission, the Chicago Police Department, and our elected officials have worked assiduously on these issues but we all have to do our part. The HPKCC encourages you to assist our neighbors by doing the following:
We can all do our part by random acts of participation. HPKCC asks you to add to our list!
Autumn 2005 Conference Reporter
Participants said they want to maintain community involvement, concern, communication, and character. Changes wanted that relate or may relate to Safety:
Six answered the call for other comments with the following SAFETY concerns:
Comments on other topics that spill over to public safety:
Crime concern letters have been filling the papers, and they tie the issue directly to quality of life. Here will be a sampler.They generally start by saying that too much attention is being paid to xyz and not to crime. Attention should be paid also to finding ways to curb crime and make Hyde Park a safe community despite negatives. See Community Safety page and its links.
Jan Hoff says, "Where is the outcry over Hyde Park crime?" March 15
...I witnessed a mugging on Sunday March 5 a t8 p.m. in the 5400 block of South Greenwood Avenue while in Stout Park with my husband and two little boys. As the assailants sped off and the victims ran down the street, my husband realized that a University of Chicago patrol car was parked less than 75 yards away in the McCormick Theological Seminary driveway. We reported the incident to the officer, and sometime later saw two campus squad cars patrolling inside the park. Too late for these victims.
I also realized that I had walked by the assailants' car parked further north in the same block about 20 minutes before the attack. Something made me suspicious and now I wish I had followed my intuition and called the police; perhaps this crime could have been prevented. I also can't help thinking that had it been a few minutes later, the victims could have been me with my children. I am beginning to think that the presence of the campus police lends a false sense of security to students and residents if crimes like this can occur within sight of the police.
I have lived in Hyde Park since 1983 by choice, not because of an affiliation with the university or other organization here. I still believe it is one of the best places to live in the city, albeit its limited commercial and dining options. Although I have been victimized by tow home invasions and a car theft over the years, I have always felt relatively safe here. However, that feeling of safety is beginning to erode.
We Hyde Parkers have to get more involved with this issue by demanding proactive, preventative policing by both city and campus law enforcement agencies. we must do our part by attending CAPS meetings, voicing our intolerance of crime and reporting any suspicious activity immediately.
By our lack of community protest and outrage,...we are allowing our streets to be taken over by thugs who know they can commit crimes against individuals here and get away with it.