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Uptown Crime: Hotspots to Get 24-Hour Police Presence, Alderman Says

By  Kyla Gardner and Erica Demarest | August 20, 2013 3:59pm 

 Ald. James Cappleman (46th), left, will target three crime hotspots in Uptown after a shooting Monday night left five injured, he said.
Ald. James Cappleman (46th), left, will target three crime hotspots in Uptown after a shooting Monday night left five injured, he said.
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DNAinfo/Adeshina Emmanuel and Getty Images/Scott Olson

CHICAGO — After a gang-related shooting left five men wounded in Uptown on Monday, an alderman said he's establishing a 24-hour police presence at three crime hotspots in the neighborhood.

Monday's gunfire erupted about 6 p.m. near Uptown Baptist Church, in the 4500 block of Sheridan Road. The shooting happened along a "Safe Passage" route where students from the shuttered Stewart School will walk to get to nearby Brenneman Elementary starting next week.

Three people have been taken into custody in connection with the shooting due to a fast police response and footage from a police camera at the intersection and business security cameras, said Ald. James Cappleman (46th).

Three police cars will soon be stationed at three crime hotspots in Uptown "24 hours a day, 7 days a week," Cappleman said in a statement Tuesday. The hotspot locations were not released.

Shootings just two blocks north of Monday's — near Weiss Plaza at North Sheridan Road and West Lawrence Avenue — led Cappleman to crack down on that corner in June.

Weiss Plaza was the scene of a drive-by shooting that injured six people in late June and a gang-related retaliation shooting that injured two a few weeks earlier. An undercover police operation focused on drug and gang activity there nabbed 15 suspects in July.

Cappleman and his staff, area police commanders, CAPS sergeants, beat facilitators and local block clubs held meetings about safety measures in the area. Extra lighting and security cameras were installed in a nearby alley, and business owners created a list of people causing problems.

The corner "has been very quiet since June," Cappleman said in a written statement Tuesday.

The alderman will be working with the same groups to "implement a plan to make this area safer" as the three hotspots are targeted, Cappleman said.

Though Cappleman said Tuesday that "the summer in Uptown has been relatively quiet," the shootings have put some community members on edge. Residents have held several "positive loitering" events at the Sheridan and Lawrence over the summer to deter crime.

William Wightman, 57, who has lived in Uptown for three years, recently moved further away from the Sheridan and Wilson area, the site of Monday night's shooting, but said he still hears gunshots at least once or twice per week.

Wightman said crime has been cleaned up, especially near the Wilson Red Line stop, in the past few years, but it's on the rise again.

"You hear a lot of gunshots," Wightman said. "Unless somebody's hit and it's documented, nobody says anything. Everyone turns their heads around here anyway. ... These guys just shoot. They don't aim. I think they're really just trying to scare people."