LAKEVIEW — Police in the Town Hall District are focusing increased resources on a rash of North Side fires suspected of being intentionally set over the past month.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) alerted residents in Lakeview and North Center in a Monday email, advising them to call police to report suspicious activity, review video surveillance footage and secure trash bins until the day of garbage pickup.
Detectives are reviewing surveillance video footage and additional officers have been assigned to handle the arson cases, Waguespack said.
Offenders are typically igniting available material in alleys like trash bins, mattresses and discarded paper boxes. Several garages have been destroyed or damaged, but most fires have been contained to the garbage bins.
Police have yet to issue an alert regarding the fires, but the anonymously run blog Crime in Wrigleyville + Boystown counted 12 suspicious fires this weekend, totaling 18 since Oct. 12. An unnamed police officer attributed some of the fires to children seen on video, the blog reported.
Waguespack also recommends neighbors attend community policing meetings to "speak to the beat officers in this area directly about the incident and other issues."
But the Town Hall District — which includes Lakeview and portions of Uptown, Lincoln Square, North Center and Lincoln Park — no longer wants to discuss such incidents with neighbors.
Starting in 2016, the monthly Q&A meetings will cease and be replaced with information sessions on specific topics every other month, Sgt. Jason Clark said last week.
"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."
Waguespack included information about the following fires:
• Oct. 17: 1337 W. Wolfram St., 10:35 p.m.
• Oct. 17: 1420 W. Diversey Pkwy., 11:30 p.m.
• Oct. 28: 2936 N. Lincoln Ave., 6 a.m.
• Oct. 11: 2838 N. Damen Ave., 7:37 p.m.
• Oct. 12: 3000 N. Hoyne Ave., 3:20 p.m.
• Oct. 12: 2015 W. Wellington Ave., 9:15 p.m.
Waguespack also said other fires were set this weekend in the 1200 block of West Diversey Avenue, 1500 block of West Wolfram Street and 2900 block of North Ashland Avenue in Lakeview, as well as in the 1900 block West Diversey Avenue and the 2800 block of North Damen Avenue in North Center.
Anyone with video or information on the fires is asked to call arson detectives at 312-746-7618.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: