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CAPS Fans Can Still Bring Up Issues At Meetings, Town Hall Police Clarifiy

By Ariel Cheung | November 12, 2015 8:49am
 Sgt. Jason Clark with the Town Hall District addressing residents at a recent CAPS meeting.
Sgt. Jason Clark with the Town Hall District addressing residents at a recent CAPS meeting.
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

LAKEVIEW — Concerned neighbors will still be able to bring up specific incidents during community policing meetings, police clarified this week.

While there will only be half as many meetings in the Town Hall District next year, the switch won't be as drastic as some neighbors understood it to be, Sgt. Jason Clark said.

Last week, Clark told neighbors in the 1923, 1924 and 1925 beats that the Community Alternative Policing Strategy meetings would "rebrand" and move away from "issues we have no control over" like district staffing levels.

On Tuesday, Clark said that didn't mean neighbors had to stop sharing their concerns about specific incidents of crime in the Town Hall District, which includes Lakeview and parts of Uptown, Lincoln Park, North Center and Lincoln Square.

 Chicago Police CAPS logo
Chicago Police CAPS logo
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Chicago Police Department

"Because this is a CAPS meeting, we have to get back to problem solving," Clark told Central Lake View Neighbors. "A lot of times at meetings, we hear about frustrations with manpower and whatnot, and sometimes those take over the meeting dialogue and we don't get anything accomplished."

But some feel police should do more, returning to monthly meetings and allowing frank discussions about crime patterns and district manpower.

"I don't want to find out two months later that there was a robbery on my corner. Things become stale, and these are timely issues related to crime that's happening right now," Kimberly Ross told DNAinfo.

Discussing problems with major events like the Pride Parade two months after they take place, she said, would be fruitless.

Ross, who lives in the Triangle Neighbors area, attended last week's CAPS meeting and said she was frustrated by the new plans, but appreciated safety tips Clark offered ahead of the holiday season. 

"There's probably a happy medium that needs to be struck between the two," said Triangle Neighbors President John Becvar. "In such a widely dispersed area, you can't add safety seminars on top of it. You're not going to have any time to problem-solve."

Becvar noted that it has been a couple of years since the Town Hall District began combining beat meetings and suggested the new format would be more effective if each beat met separately.

Chief of staff Bennett Lawson for Tunney said he'd take the suggestions to the district.

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