To the Editor:
Last week, seeing “The Crime Problem” editorial on the front page of the Herald Extra edition, while worrisome, made clear that I was not the only one who was concerned about the uptick in crime in Hyde Park. As this newspaper has reported, in recent weeks a string of car jackings and robberies have occurred at various times of day and night, including crimes in which women were targeted as they entered their homes. After an armed robbery occurred on my block two weeks ago, which added to the nine other robberies that occurred in October and two robberies, targeting women, that occurred on Nov. 1, I began to fear for my safety in a way that I had not before.
Just as troubling as the increase in crime is the lack of a response from our elected officials to this problem and ways in which we can work together as a community to address it. It is undisputed that the police bear the primary responsibility of preventing crimes from occurring and solving those that are committed. At the same time, our aldermen and state legislators are our voice in the Chicago City Council and Illinois General Assembly, respectively, and they have an important role to play in protecting the safety and welfare of the public they serve.
Again, while it is not up to elected officials to solve crimes, they can and should use their voice to reassure their constituents that they are on their side and are doing what they can to keep them safe. Offering to meet with constituents, informing them of what they have done in response to the increase in crime, and asking what more they can do can help quell concerns that they are indifferent to the problem and the negative impact it is having and will continue to have on the neighborhood until action is taken to stop it.
Barbara R. Barreno-Paschall