PILSEN — In an effort to combat local crime, a new neighborhood watch group is forming in Pilsen.
Alex Acevedo, a lifelong Pilsen resident who ran for state representative this spring, is launching the new Pilsen's Neighborhood Watch Coalition this week to keep Pilsen streets safe.
The group will host its first meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at American Legion Dorman-Dunn Post 547, 2129 W. Cermak Road.
The meeting is a response to a rash of robberies in the area, Acevedo said Tuesday. At the meeting, the group will be asking volunteers, outfitted with neon vests, to help patrol key sites in the neighborhood, including parks and schools.
The new group aims to bring together Pilsen residents, community leaders, police officers, churches and non-profits to make Pilsen a safer place. All community members are welcome to participate.
Recently, a number of neighbors have reported that they don't feel safe in Pilsen, the neighborhood so many grew up in, Acevedo said.
"They remember back to the days when beat officers walked the streets and had a relationship with the community," he said. "The idea of this Pilsen neighborhood watch group is that just by having an off-duty police officer or resident in the community patrolling, it acts as a deterrent."
Pilsen's Neighborhood Watch Coalition, modeled after a similar program in Bridgeport, will aim to work with CAPS facilitators in the Ogden (10th) and Near West (12th) Police Districts to solve crimes and combat new criminal activity in the neighborhood.
Acevedo, the son of State Rep. Edward "Eddie" Acevedo (D-Chicago), ran to win his father's 2nd House District seat, but lost the primary race March 15 to Theresa Mah.
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