As all our residents are probably aware, crime and safety have been in focus in recent months both locally and nationally. November and December in particular saw an apparent uptick in reported crime throughout the city. RVN has heard and understands our residents’ concerns and we want all of our members to know that neighborhood safety and security is a top priority.
The RVN Neighborhood Watch committee has been extremely active in recent months, though our actions may not always be immediately visible. Below is a list that highlights some of our latest efforts:
- RVN board members have had multiple in-person and virtual meetings with city and state leaders including our Aldermen, our state Senator and Representatives, CPD leadership, and the Cook County State’s Attorney office. We have advocated for our residents and will continue to make sure our concerns are heard.
- RVN participated in a January meeting of area neighborhood associations that also included District 19 leadership. We discussed initiatives to promote safety and security in our individual neighborhoods, in the district, and city-wide. We feel that partnership with other neighborhood organizations increases our voice and leverages combined resources. As part of this group of associations, RVN was a signatory on letters to Mayor Lightfoot calling for increased CPD resources in our beats and to the CTA calling for increased transit detail presence on CTA trains and platforms.
- The committee launched a petition to re-open the Western & Belmont police station to District 19 staff. Currently it operates as a lockup and garage, originating no beat patrols or other resources. The petition has received overwhelming support. For more information and to sign the petition, go to the petition website here.
- RVN representatives attended all District Advisory Committee meetings for CPD District 19 and neighborhood beat meetings for beats 1921 and 1922.
- Our Neighbors on Watch (NoW) team aided police investigations into area thefts and were able to provide video of perpetrators and their vehicles.
- NoW was featured on a CBS5 evening and morning news segment bringing additional visibility to the camera program as a crime deterrent and safety neighborhood enhancement.
Going forward, we plan on launching several new initiatives to keep Roscoe Village a safe and welcoming neighborhood:
- A “Light up the Night” program will encourage conscientious and effective lighting on our streets and alleys. The COVID pandemic has seen new focus on outdoor spaces and there are fantastic examples throughout Roscoe Village of lighting that illuminates and brings additional safety to our residential streets. We will coordinate with residents and the City of Chicago to identify areas of low lighting and creative ways to illuminate them.
- We will create a crime prevention & safety guide on the RVN website. In the coming months we will institute a program to keep this guide updated with current best practices. In our discussions with city leadership and law enforcement, one of the top recommendations to reduce crime is deterrence by eliminating the element of opportunity and this will be our initial focus. We will also have general tips on how to report crime and how to use city services for non-emergency safety issues.
- We will host a safety seminar with CPD District 19 on February 10, 2020 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. District representatives will provide an overview of recent crime statistics in our neighborhood, discuss general safety do’s and don’ts, and answer questions from residents.
- We are reassessing our NoW camera program and plan to expand with additional cameras and greater coverage. As always, we will continue to make privacy a top priority by only monitoring public spaces, limiting access, and requiring a police report before sharing footage with CPD.
- We encourage Roscoe Village residents to participate by attending beat meetings, our safety seminar in February, and volunteering to serve on our Neighborhood Watch Committee. Please see our committee page for all the ways to participate.
- We will continue our collaboration with city and state leaders as well as with neighborhood organizations throughout the city.
- We are looking at ways to promote new and revitalize existing neighborhood block clubs. In addition to being strongly correlated with increased safety, block clubs help promote strong social bonds within the neighborhood. We plan to work with existing block clubs in Roscoe Village to create a program to help develop new clubs.
- Finally, we look to our RVN members and area residents to offer suggestions and feedback. We can be contacted via the “contact us” link on the committee page on our website or at firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of the Neighborhood Watch Committee, its chair Dan Richman, and the rest of the RVN board, we remain highly motivated to serve our community in all areas of safety.