LAKEVIEW — The Town Hall District is cutting back on how often it meets with neighbors, citing low attendance and a desire to "rebrand" the purpose of its community meetings.
Starting in 2016, the Community Alternative Policing Strategy meetings will take place every other month. Those meetings will begin in February for the 1923, 1924 and 1925 beats within the boundaries of Irving Park Road, Southport Avenue, Belmont Avenue and the lakefront.
The tone of the meetings will also change, CAPS Sgt. Jason Clark said Wednesday.
"We want to get away from [neighbors asking], 'What happened this night? What happened here?'" Clark said. "We're not going to discuss issues we have no control over."
Among those taboo topics: district manpower and specific incidents of crime.
"If it's not on our level, if it's not something I can work on, we're not going to discuss it," Clark told neighbors. Still, he said, "we'll answer any questions you have. We're not going to get away from that, but we're going to keep questions to the beat meeting" topic.
Clark said each meeting will focus on a different crime prevention topic like garage burglaries and seasonal crime trends.
During the Wednesday CAPS meeting, Clark presented neighbors with tips on preventing burglaries and robberies and staying safe on public transportation.
Clark said he hoped changing the meetings would encourage higher attendance, which has dropped in recent years within some beats. He also said the Town Hall District — which includes Lakeview and parts of Uptown, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square and North Center — was one of the few districts in the city to still host monthly meetings.
For beats 1923, 1924 and 1925, the 2016 meeting topics and dates are as follows. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. at 850 W. Addison St.
Feb. 3: Theft from vehicles
April 6: Garage burglaries
June 1: Residential burglaries
Aug. 3: Street safety and robberies
Oct. 5: Back-to-school safety
Dec. 7: Seasonal crime trends
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