UPTOWN — A task force focused on the crime hotspot at the corner of North Sheridan Road and West Lawrence Avenue has implemented an array of measures to improve safety in the area, according to the office of Ald. James Cappleman (46th).
Weiss Plaza, which sits at the corner, was the scene of two separate gang-related shootings in June that left a total of eight people shot. An undercover police operation focused on drug and gang activity there nabbed 15 suspects in July.
Cappleman's office said a group called the Weiss Plaza Safety Committee met with businesses in the plaza on June 20 to get them involved in anti-crime efforts. Another committee meeting was held July 16 to check on the progress of efforts from the group, which consists of Cappleman and his staff, area police commanders, CAPS sergeants, beat facilitators and local block clubs.
Management for the plaza has created a list of people "who have been causing problems at the plaza," Cappleman's office said. People on the list have been warned they're not allowed on the property and "are subject to arrest for criminal trespass if they are found on the plaza property," according to the 46th Ward.
Lighting was added in the alley behind the plaza, and 16 video cameras were installed, according to Cappleman's office. All of the cameras were functional by late July, and cops have access to them via the Internet.
Cappleman's office said the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications would be connected to the cameras by "a special modem and signal encoder that will enable OEMC to separate the different camera signals," but that the ward was still awaiting delivery of equipment and installation for the OEMC link.
Other measures implemented by the task force included placing a security guard at the plaza in the late afternoon and evening, posting "No Trespassing," and "No Loitering," signs at businesses in the plaza, and trimming high bushes along Sheridan to "open up the view in and out of Weiss Plaza."
"More needs to be done and is being worked on. It will take time to change but the progress so far is encouraging," Cappleman's office said on the 46th Ward website.