CITY HALL — Uptown's alderman distanced himself from embroiling police deployment in the city budget Thursday, but again called for an increased police presence in the neighborhood.
"The situation that we had yesterday, where a man who's been homeless three years, who had homemade weapons on him and who threw urine and feces at police officers, that kind of thing needs to be addressed," said Ald. James Cappleman (46th) at City Hall Thursday.
"At the four sites where we have had shootings, where people have died, all four of these sites have an incredibly high rate of chronic drinking that has to be addressed," Cappleman added.
Cappleman was referring to incidents in which a homeless man was arrested Wednesday night after throwing bottles of urine and feces at police. He was also referring to the shooting of a 14-year-old boy over the Labor Day weekend on the 1000 block of West Wilson Avenue, as well as an earlier shooting last month outside the Uptown Baptist Church.
The teen shooting last weekend spurred Cappleman to send an email to local residents saying he and other aldermen "are insisting on a commitment of more police officers on the street before we vote on the 2014 city budget."
But Cappleman waved off any and all questions about the budget Thursday.
"While we've seen fewer shootings and fewer murders and much less crime in the city this year, one victim is certainly one too many, and there's more work to be done," said Chicago Police Department spokesman Adam Collins. "No one's gonna rest until everyone enjoys the same sense of safety.
"We're making positive progress in neighborhoods citywide," Collins added. "It's all part of our strategy to continue to reduce crime."
Collins emphasized that hundreds of officers have been moved from desks to street duty as part of those efforts, and that Chicago has more officers per capita than any major city in the nation. He cited statistics showing overall crime is down 19 percent from last year in the Town Hall District and 27 percent in the Foster District serving Uptown. So are violent crimes across the board in both districts, but for shootings in the Foster District, which remain level with six so far this year.
He also repeated the call for stronger gun laws to diminish street violence.