West Town neighbors gather after carjacking rash and demand answers from prosecutor – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – Residents of parishes in the West Town area gathered Thursday and said enough is enough when it comes to car theft.
As reported by CBS 2’s Jermont Terry, not only did neighbors gather and hang out, they also asked questions and raised concerns directly to some of the key prosecutors in the Cook County State Attorney’s Office.
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Many local residents said that they sometimes feel unsafe simply getting out of their vehicles due to carjacking happening again and again.
A quick look down Milwaukee Avenue shows that there is no shortage of people to walk or drive. Yet despite the area’s population density, some of the West Town communities call home feel uncomfortable.
“We need our officials to tell us what’s going on; to tell us what is working and to find a better way to move forward, ”said Sam Royko.
Royko, the youngest son of the late legendary Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko, formed the Greater West Town Community Coalition after his girlfriend was kidnapped in an alley near Milwaukee and Ashland Avenues earlier this year.
“It’s really important that we do this as a community,” said Royko. “It doesn’t just happen in our area. It happens all over Chicago. “
WEB EXTRA: Tracking Chicago’s carjackings
We’ve seen 1,512 carjackings across Chicago so far in 2021, compared to 1,413 out of a total of 200.
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The municipality of West Town – which also includes Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, East Ukrainian Village, River West and East Humboldt Park – has been hit hardest by the crimes with 106 car thefts to date.
That’s the second highest number for any of Chicago’s 77 parishes. It is only followed by Austin on the West Side at 115.
“People are judged. They are exposed with bonds or electrical bracelets or whatever they are – and they are still committing crimes, “a parishioner said at the meeting on Thursday evening. “Help us understand what you’re going to do to stop this.”
That was the overwhelming concern at the ward meeting. The Chicago Police Department and Cook County State Attorney’s Office tried to explain how and why some suspected offenders are being released pending trial
“We can only detain a minor for up to 30 days prior to trial,” said Assistant Cook County Attorney Matt Howroyd. “That’s the legislation now. This is not a decision of the public prosecutor. “
And while the crowd wanted immediate solutions to the rise in crime, they will wait and see for the time being to see if the trend slows down.
“We try to bring as many people together that they have the loudest possible voice to make sure we’re heard and make positive change,” said Royko.
Chicago police told residents at the meeting that they are using all available resources to really try to forestall any car theft.
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In addition to deploying a carjacking task force, police are also installing license plate scanners to detect any stolen vehicles rolling on the streets in West Town’s communities.