ROGERS PARK—Residents who wish to show their support for community safety will gather and walk the streets Wednesday night during a "positive loitering" event held by Rogers Park CAPS organizers.
Beginning at 7 p.m., neighbors can gather at the corner of Ashland and Pratt before heading on a tour across the heart the 24th district — police beat 2431 — the site of several shootings this year, but now a place of peace, organizers hope. The beat is defined by Lunt, Pratt, Clark and Lake Michigan.
Officer Zelideth Moore said at a CAPS meeting Tuesday night positive loitering events were a way for the community to "come out to show neighbors the way to make the neighborhood a better place."
Moore said that during the summer months, when crime tends to spike, positive loitering is a communal way to highlight the neighborhood's "good elements."
"And the bad elements don't really like to see that too much," she said.
The route will be as follows:
- Residents will first walk west on Pratt to Ashland before turning north on Clark and heading toward Morse.
- From there, participants head east on Morse until they hit Ashland, where they'll take a 10-minute break before continuing east on Morse to Glenwood.
- They'll then take a turn to walk north all the way to Lunt, where again they'll stop before heading westbound back to Ashland, then south until they're back to Morse.
- After one more 10-minute stop off, the group will walk south on Ashland back to their meeting place on Pratt, where if there's time, community members may linger around the area, Moore said.
The beat is also where one faction of the Gangster Disciples gang, the Insane Cutthroat Gangsters, have suffered an ongoing feud with warring faction Loyalty Over Cash, who claim turf near Howard Street.
The most recent shooting in which a person was injured in the beat occurred Aug. 12 in the 1500 block of W. Morse Ave. when a 22-year-old man was shot in his hand and leg. On Sept. 5, three men were shot in the Howard area, and on Aug. 30 two men were shot in Leone Park — midway between the two points — spurring residents to peacefully rally at the park in the following days.
Despite some shootings, and the recent release of Young Pappy cohort Keith Hayer, aka Bang Da Hitta, residents at a local CAPS meeting for neighboring beat 2432 — which encompasses the area between Devon, Ridge, Pratt and the lake, just south of 2431 — said they'd noticed a "relatively peaceful period for hot, humid weather," said CAPS facilitator Pat Kenny.
Officer Matthew McKenna agreed with Kenny, noting several recently renovated parks were now occupied by families and children playing — when they once had been "taken over by thugs," Kenny added.
He and residents said the beat had noticed some much-needed "peace and quiet" after the late May shooting death of Young Pappy, whose real name is Shaquon Thomas. The rapper was notorious for his violent rap videos that often taunted rival gang members.
With Thomas' death and the arrest of several gang members, Kenny said it's caused the flow of rap videos to slow, adding that without them, "everybody isn't getting crazy and shooting each other."
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