ROGERS PARK — Since Faisal Dossa installed eight security cameras around his restaurant, Morse Gyros, drug dealers and loiterers have found elsewhere to do business or hang out.
The southwest corner of Morse and Wayne avenues was a trouble spot for years, but illegal activity "drastically decreased," said John Warner, a Chicago's Alternative Policing Strategy beat facilitator for the area.
"That whole corner entirely quieted down," he said.
Dossa, who took over the well-established Mediterranean neighborhood restaurant earlier this year, said his cameras covered every angle around the building. He can even bring up the live feeds through an app on his iPhone.
Just a few weeks ago, he said, the convenience store next door was robbed. Chicago police came by to ask for footage, and it turned out his cameras recorded the suspects.
"An accomplice was standing right outside," Dossa said.
To the right of the sign that reads, "Smile, you're on camera," a door leads to a back room, where a monitor tucked in the corner above a freezer shows eight camera angles.
Two of them show the restaurant's interior while the rest cover the back alley and the sidewalks outside.
Dossa said his uncle ran Morse Gyros since 1975, and the restaurant had been known to attract seedy behavior. But the area has changed as Morse Avenue east of the CTA station continues to attract new businesses and other development.
Next to the Mayne Stage and Act One Pub, just across the street, a five-story apartment building is under construction. And next door to that, the Reside On Morse apartment complex, marketed as cool and urban chic, was renovated in 2008.
Dossa said business picked up since he took over and installed the cameras, but when the Morse CTA station closed for six weeks over the summer, he took a hit, and still is trying to recover lost business.
Joseph Deschene, the facilities manager of the building housing the Mayne Stage, said he had seen a change on the street.
"There's been a reduction in loitering," he said. "The last thing a criminal wants is to be noticed."
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