CAPS is here to help

To the Editor:

I am the CAPS (Community Policing) facilitator for beats 233, 234 and 235—which covers much of Hyde Park.  I am a volunteer (not a police officer) and have been regularly attending these meeting for almost 20 years.  They have had their ups and downs, but are designed to provide a forum for communication between the police (in this case both Chicago and UofC) and the community.

Over the past year Chicago Police Department has increased its commitment to this program and needs your participation to effectively take things to the next level.  There are a number of things that you can do to help:

* Attend the CAPS meetings.  They are an opportunity to meet (and over time get to know) the officers who are patrolling your neighborhood.  A personal connection with the officers has many benefits including a tendency for increased commitment from both parties to improve the safety of the neighborhood.

Attending the meetings is also an opportunity to contribute to the identification and resolution of issues facing the community.

I understand that you may not be able to attend every month, but put it in your calendar every 2nd or 3rd month.

CAPS meetings are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month (except December, January and February) at 6:30pm, at the Treasure Island Store on Lake Park Avenue.

* If you see something, say something.  The police can be a heck of a lot more effective with more eyes and ears.  They also tend to allocate resources based on the numbers.  So, if they get a lot of calls on an issue, they will know the issue is there and attend to it.  That means calling 911 when you see something that concerns you.  And, remember you can remain anonymous.

The following link provides tips to make your 911 call most effective: https://home.chicagopolice.org/get-involved-with-caps/hotlines-and-cpd-contacts/tips-for-callers-to-chicagos-emergency-communications-center/

If the police department doesn’t know there is an issue they can’t address it.  So, if you don’t attend the meetings or call 911 when you see something don’t be surprised if the issues don’t go away or maybe get worse.

It is my opinion (and I have been doing this for a lot of years), the Chicago Police Department is really making an effort to listen to and partner with the community.  You have an opportunity to participate and be heard.

Please get involved!

-Howard Niden