Jan. 19, 2018 – Oak Park Police have scheduled a series of neighborhood community forums to discuss crime and prevention as a follow up to the two community-wide meetings held in December at Village Hall.
Police will be going out into the community, holding meetings that offer residents location options. Residents will be welcomed at any and all of the meetings.
The schedule is as follows:
- Tues., Jan. 30 - 6:30 p.m., Oak Park and River Forest High School north cafeteria, 201 N. Scoville Ave.
- Wed., Jan. 31 - 6:30 p.m. Village Hall, 123 Madison St., room 201
- Thurs, Feb. 1 - 6:30 p.m. Main Fire Station, 100 N. Euclid Ave.
- Fri., Feb. 2 - 9:30 a.m., Village Hall, 123 Madison St., room 201
The meetings will include a review of a wide range of information, including 2017 statistics compiled for the state’s annual Uniform Crime Reporting Index and new dedicated Police social media tools to provide daily crime summaries and investigation updates. Street lighting, cameras and staffing levels also will be discussed.
Preventing crime and catching the individuals who commit crimes in the Village are the top priority of Oak Park’s Police Officers, according to Police Chief Anthony Ambrose, who noted that patrols have continued to be increased on residential streets and alleys.
“High visibility is a key strategy to prevent crime,” he said. “That’s why the numbers of marked cars patrolling our streets and alleys have increased significantly over recent weeks. But plain clothes officers in unmarked police cars are deployed strategically as well to make neighborhoods safer by having officers on the street observing, without being detected."
Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb voiced strong support for the Chief and his approach to crime fighting.
“I understand the concerns of the community about safety. Addressing cime is our top priority,” he said. “Fortunately, we have one of the finest Police Departments anywhere led by a Chief with more than three decades of experience. I know Chief Ambrose will take the right actions to protect the community. He has demonstrated time and time again that he knows how to get the job done.”
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek, who oversees all Oak Park municipal programs, including public safety, echoed Mayor Abu-Taleb’s support for the Police Department and Chief Ambrose.
“Our Police Department and its Chief face an incredible challenge with these types of crimes,” she said. “They are random and occurring throughout our Village as well as in neighboring communities. Since the increase in carjackings began in November, I have been working with the Chief, the Mayor and Village Board to ensure the resource needs of the Police Department are met.”
Ambrose said the Oak Park Police Department uses a model they call intelligence-based deployment to help make sure resources are allocated most effectively. Police are constantly collecting and analyzing data from crime reports not only in Oak Park but the surrounding communities. In addition, Oak Park Police are working closely with law enforcement agencies throughout the region to share information and strategic planning approaches.
Behind the scenes, Oak Park Police are working to identify those who commit crime in the community, including collecting and analyzing evidence often left behind when stolen cars are recovered. This type of fundamental police work, officials say, has led to the arrest suspects in connection with 10 of the carjacking incidents in Oak Park.
In addition to these arrests, two suspects believed to have been involved in the Nov. 28 attempted hijackings on North Lombard Avenue and North Austin Boulevard are in Chicago Police custody tied to crimes that occurred in the city on the same night.
Ambrose said he understands why residents are concerned about what is being done to protect the community. Opportunities to discuss issues face-to-face are important to building trust and cooperation between residents and the men and women who are sworn to protect them, he said.
“After more than 30 years as a police officer in Oak Park, I value residents’ opinions,” he said. “Meeting face-to-face with citizens to candidly answer the hard questions is an essential component of an effective crime-prevention strategy.”
Ambrose said his biggest concern right now is that residents are increasingly turning to social media to ask questions of their friends when they see or hear something, rather than calling 911. The emergency response dispatch infrastructure is based on telephones and radios and it will take time and money to adapt to the platforms many residents have come to rely upon, according to Ambrose, so calling 911 remains critical.
“The simple truth is that even in a Village of only four and half square miles, Police need residents to work in partnership with us, and when they see something or hear something, they need to call 911 immediately,” he said.
Oak Park is not the only community to experience an uptick in carjackings and attempts. While Oak Park Police investigated 19 incidents in 2017, Chicago had nearly 1,000 incidents, the highest in 10 years. So far, 10 arrests have been made in connection with the Oak Park incidents.
For more information on crime prevention, residents are urged to contact their Resident or Neighborhood Beat Officers. Contact information is posted at www.oak-park.us/rbo.