Dogs Gone Wild! Amid robbery and carjacking spike, CPD deploys tactical unit to tackle leash law violations

A copy of the flier Chicago police distributed at Wrightwood Park | Provided

The Lakeview-based Town Hall (19th) Police District has a few problems these days. Robberies are up 138%. Carjackings are spiking. Even the local alderman’s office has been burglarized.

And, like most of the city’s police districts, Town Hall — which spans from Lawrence to Fullerton and from the lake to the river — has been sending some of its tactical teams downtown in recent weeks to sit on street corners as an anti-looting tactic. Tactical teams are district units that focus on reversing crime patterns.

So, with carjackings and robberies and burglaries on the rise, someone at CPD this week decided to have Town Hall tactical officers focus their efforts on — wait for it — dog leash ordinance enforcement at Wrightwood Park, 2534 North Greenview.

But the police department says there are very good reasons for the dog leash crackdown.

Howard Ludwig, a CPD spokesperson, confirmed that Town Hall tactical officers went to Wrightwood Park on Thursday “as part of a department-wide effort to encourage community interaction with neighborhood residents.” Officers from the district’s community policing office were there, too, he said.

“The problem of off-leash pets in the park has escalated in recent weeks,” Ludwig told us. “A 19-year-old autistic girl who lives near the park [was] knocked to the ground by an unleashed dog. She is now afraid to return to the park.”

And a special needs park employee who asked pet owners to leash their dogs “was routinely threatened” by dog owners, Ludwig said. “Eventually, this led to the park employee being relocated to a different park.”

Other park employees have reportedly been “harassed” for asking owners to leash their dogs, too.

“Employee cars have been damaged and dog feces has been thrown at these workers,” Ludwig continued.

The pooch-powered pandemonium doesn’t end there, according to Ludwig.

“Children attending the preschool at Wrightwood Park are frequently knocked down and have their playthings stolen by unleashed pets. Neighbors are unable to walk their dogs on-leash because so many animals are off-leash.”

During Thursday’s tactical deployment, officers spoke with employees about park and animal safety while community policing officers issued warnings and flyers to dog owners, Ludwig said.

A copy of the flyer received by CWBChicago cites the city’s leash ordinance and directs owners to two nearby “Dog Friendly Areas.”

But Ludwig assured us Town Hall tactical team are still conducting missions to fight robberies, burglaries, and carjackings.

And late Thursday night, just hours after the canine crackdown ended, Area Three detectives issued a new robbery and carjacking alert for Town Hall and three other North Side police districts.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com