By LINDSAY WELBERS
Chicago Police Department is stepping up enforcement in parks along the lakefront this summer to help prevent violence.
At its monthly Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC) meeting on Monday, July 14, at the Iowa Building, 5600 S. Lake Shore Drive, Third District Captain Sean Loughlan said CPD has increased its presence in the parks in response to the June 22 murder in the Iowa Building.
Loughlan called the June 22 murder where 34-year-old Ovadiyah Chandler was killed an isolated incident and said that the investigation is ongoing.
“I know in addition to our regular patrols we’re also focusing a great deal on our parks and park security,” Loughlan said. “Because we have such a vast lakefront and we have a great deal of park property to deal with, that’s a huge footprint.”
The 3rd District has a beat car specifically for the parks and lakefront, with the capability to send additional foot, bike and car patrols as needed.
Additionally, the 3rd District has begun focusing more on what Loughlan calls “quality of life issues.”
“I’m a firm believer in quality of life issues; if we can focus on those we can affect a great deal of change,” Loughlan said. “Think about this: in your community if everywhere you look left and right, we allow somebody to be drinking a beer on the street and we let that go, what else are we going to let go? If we let somebody with loud music, somebody who is causing a disturbance, if you let that go, what else are you going to let go? If we focus on that I believe, and the superintendent believes, we are going to have a dynamic impact on the community.”
By issuing citations for small crimes, Loughlan said, it can help to prevent larger crimes later.
“I would think it’s a more effective tool to issue a citation and to be able to correct the problem right then and there than to take an officer off the street to process an arrestee for several hours,” Loughlan said.
Park Security Assistant Director Lorenzo Chew said closing the park or park facilities earlier would not deter criminals from entering the park and would deny law-abiding citizens from outdoor space they are entitled to.
“It’s still going to need enforcement if we close early because those inclined to break the law don’t care,” Chew said.