|Police resources will be front and center in the city’s 2018 budget, said Ald. Hopkins (top) and Ald. Reilly|
Slow police response, sometimes no response at all, is ‘unacceptable,’ says 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, and he will ‘fight for additional patrol officers’ in the 18th police district.
When a dead body washed ashore on Montrose Dog Beach in late August got the response of Chicago Fire Department but not police, it was because “they didn’t have enough patrol officers to respond” to 911 calls from numerous people, 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins says.
Hopkins calls it “unacceptable” and says he will “fight for additional patrol officers” in the 18th police district, located between the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and Fullerton Avenue.
Six police officers have recently been added to the district, according to Hopkins, though research by CWB Chicago shows that between September 2016 and June 2017, the number of police officers in the 18th district declined by 21. The 19th District, north of Fullerton, lost 15.
“Six is better than zero,” said Hopkins. “The fight goes on. This is a difficult thing but I believe right now it’s the best thing that we can do to help increase patrols in our neighborhood, help reduce some of the increase in street crime that we’re seeing.”
Calling 911, says Hopkins, particularly on a Friday or Saturday night, does not guarantee that police will show up.
“You’re not assured that you’re going to get a response from Chicago Police Department because they are overwhelmed, they are understaffed, they’re doing their best to keep up with the demand that’s happening,” said Hopkins.
He says as members of the city council’s budget committee, he and 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly will work to get more patrol officers into the city’s 2018 budget.
Reilly, whose ward includes the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, and much of River North—says he is “lobbying the police department very hard” to get more police deployed in the 18th district but “all 50 aldermen play tug-of-war for police resources.”
In the meantime, Reilly says new city security cameras will soon be added in two spots on McClurg Court, about a block from the underpass to Ohio Street Beach, where a 25-year-old woman was fatally shot on June 18.
Skyline image by Bert Kaufmann from Roermond, Netherlands via Wikimedia Commons