January Safety

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Liaison 

911 Information: 

The last few months the Beverly/Morgan Park community has experienced some violent crimes, including armed robberies and two shootingsincluding the killing of a decorated retired Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant 

As a community, we should not feel paralyzed when it comes to combating crimeThere are things that we can do such as: getting and staying involved in our community through local civic associations, grass roots organizations, and the CAPS program; and utilizing communications tools such as phone trees with your neighbors 

One thing we all can do help keep our community safe is to understand when and how to use 911. 

Over my many years as a CAPS facilitator for Beat 2213, the most requested guest speakers have been from the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) presenting critical information on the City’s 311 and 911 services. Call 311 for city services and non-emergency police services. Call 911 for emergencies, such as a crime in progress, a fire or a medical emergency. You can find complete information on the City of Chicago website for OEMC’s Make the Right Call, detailing when to call 311 and when to call 911, and Help Us Help You, detailing how 911 calls are prioritized and informing residents of how to use the 5 W’s  — What, Where, Who, When, and Weapons – when calling 911.

BAPA Safety Committee 

The BAPA Safety Committee will resume meeting virtually in early 2021. Beverly/Morgan Park residents and business owners interested in learning more about serving on the committee are welcome to contact BAPA Safety Liaison Gary Jenkins, gjenkins@bapa.org for information.  

Unemployment Insurance Scams 

During the COVID-19 Pandemic several scams have surfaced, including unemployment insurance scams.  One such scam involves individuals receiving unemployment checks or debit cards that they did not apply for and are not entitled to receive. Beware, these scams are designed to steal your identity!  If you suspect that you may have been the target of an unemployment scam, contact the Illinois Department of Employment Services (IDES), 18008140513 or www.ides.illinois.gov 

Cannabis 

Because adults over age 21 can now possess and purchase cannabis products in licensed stores, it’s a good time to remind people of the do’s and don’ts of cannabis use in IllinoisThe amounts of cannabis legal to possess are 30g of plant for Illinois residents, 15g of plant for non-residents, and 5 plants per household for medical cannabis patients only. Cannabis can be used in private homes or licensed establishments. Cannabis may not be used in public, i.e. parks or sidewalks. Landlords can ban cannabis use on property they own. Employers can ban cannabis from the workplace, and employees can be tested for cannabis use and subject to consequences of their employers’ stated drug policy. Visit cookcountystatesattorney.org for complete information.  

 

 

Safety Update: COVID-19 and Holiday Safety  

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Liaison 

Nearly everyone looks forward to the holiday season, which traditionally begins at Thanksgiving and ends on New Year’s Day. We look forward to this time of the year because it usually means a lot of what I call the 3Fs: family, food, and fun!  

This year due to the COVID1-19 pandemic, we are forced to reconsider what our holiday celebrations will look like. The health experts are recommending that gatherings be smaller than what most of us are used to having. My simple message to all of Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors is to be smart and follow all the recommended guidelines put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as well as the Illinois and Chicago health officials.  The CDC website (www.coc.gov) offers excellent recommendations on coping with coronavirus in your daily life and the holidays.  You can read and implement whatever guidelines fit your individual situationThe State of Illinois and the City of Chicago have also issued guidance regarding holiday gatherings. 

Holiday travel is another area that will be greatly impacted by the current situation. Most experts strongly recommend that you forgo any holiday travel, and not to have anyone outside of your immediate household in your home.  If you do plan to travel, or if you are expecting guests this holiday season, be sure to follow all safety guidelines regarding travel. Make sure you know the current pandemic status of the area where you will be traveling or the areas from which your guests will be traveling. Most recommendations suggest: 1. Quarantine at least ten days before traveling to make sure you are well 2. Get a COVID test at least three days before you travel. 3. Get a COVID test after you arrive at your destination. 

All of us are already experiencing a severe case of COVID fatigue. However, if we do not continue to the very best we can to stop the spread of this hideous virus we will be dealing with this situation for a lot longer thaanyone would like. 

Crime Prevention & Safety Recap 

On Nov. 17, the 22nd District police hosted a nearly two hour Crime Prevention & Safety seminar via Zoom. The meeting was moderated by CAPS Officer Kurrin Beamon, and guest speakers included Officer John Thill, Strategic Decision Support Center (SDSC) roomSargent Bucki, Property Crimes – Robbery, Burglary, and Theft (RBT), Beverly Carrington, OEMC , Detective Julie Blair, Area Technology Team – Area Southand Maureen Renno, Asst. States Attorney  Community Justice Center (South). Although he was not part of the original program, Detective Blair’s husband, also Detective Blair, spoke about recent upticks in auto thefts and carjackings. 

Officer Thill explained that the  SDSC room is a central hub of the 22nd district and serves to coordinate with the beat officers, disseminate information to both detectives and beat officers, monitor the 75 – 80 pod camerasand provide tech support, among other duties. 

Sargent Bucki talked about role the RBT unit plays in investigating property crimes and the importance of the public reporting such crimes. 

Beverly Carrington gave a brief description of OEMC’s 911 threetier priority call system, and the importance of the answering why, what, when, where, and how when calling 911.  Carrington also gave a brief overview of the Smart 911 system. 

Detective Blair spoke about how the Area Technology Team retrieves videos from cameras to aid in solving crimes. The unit works with the Ring company to identify and retrieve videos from residences where crimes occur.  Detective Blair noted that turning over video surveillance information is voluntary. The unit also canvasses the neighborhood knocking on doors to seek information on crimes. 

ASA Renno spoke about the Illinois Crime Victims Rights and, although is halted due to the pandemic, the importance of the court advocacy program. 

A Q&A session followed the presentations. 

Safety Update 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Liaison 

22nd District Police Community Conversations  

In October, the 22nd District was among Chicago Police Department district citywide that held the first of two Community Conversations via Zoom. The session was designed to connect police with people in their districts in for productive discussions that will be used for a collaborative, community based strategic plan for each district. 

Attendees were given two questions to address 

Based on your personal experience, what are the key problems (i.e. violence, property crimes, quality of life) that you would like the police to address for your community? 

How would you like to see the police engage more deeply with your community (including youth, older adults, domestic violence victims, businesses, and faith communities)? 

The attendees and 22nd District officers were broken into small groups to discuss the two questions.  Following the hour-long session, the entire group was reunited to examine how district residents answered the questionsAttendees offered a wide variety of ideas and experiences, citing issues like property crimes/car break-ins and the need to report potential criminal activity as problems and generally agreeing that they would like to increase opportunities to build better relationships with police officers 

Everyone’s comments were recorded and will be presented to the 22nd District Commander and his staff. They will develop an action plan to be presented at Community Conversation 2, Tues., Nov. 24, 6 p.m. via Zoom. 

These conversations are an opportunity for residents to identify, discuss, and help craft solutions to some of the top concerns in the community I encourage everyone to make an effort to participate on the Nov. 24. 

 

COVID-19 Update 

COVID 19 is still very much with us, and, unfortunatelythe Beverly/Morgan Park area is experiencing an uptick in the case positivity rate. Please continue to wear masks and follow all the required safety guidelines. If you plan on traveling out of the city,  check the City of Chicago website for states on the travel advisory. 

Addressing Vacant Property Issues 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Liaison 

Aoften overlooked aspect of potential neighborhood safety concerns is abandoned and vacant propertiesAlthough Beverly/Morgan Park is fortunate not to have an abundance of vacant properties, it is crucial that the community recognizes and responds appropriately to these issues as they arise 

The City of Chicago of Department of Buildings (DOB) accepts vacant property reports throug3-1-1, and is responsible for fielding all complaints regarding vacant and abandoned buildings.  According to the City of Chicago’s website, The City of Chicago requires that an owner of a vacant building register the building with the City once it is vacant for more than 30 days. Each owner of a vacant building is also required to secure, insure, and maintain that building as required by ordinance. Registration must be renewed every six months. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in significant penalties. The registered owner of a vacant building will receive a daily e-mail report of public service requests (3-1-1 calls) and police activity at the property, including 9-1-1 calls. If you register a property, you must deregister the property if it is reoccupied, sold, or demolished. 

Additionally, If residents have safety concerns about remodeling or rehabbing work being done on vacant or abandoned propertythe DOB can investigate to determine whether proper permits were obtained. If the proper permits were not obtained, DOB inspectors will come out to the site to halt all work and attempt to contact the property owners. The work will not continue until all safety concerns have been addressed and all proper permits have been issued. 

If any type of criminal activity is suspected in a vacant building, people should call 9-1-1.  Once a service call is generated, the DOB works with the Chicago Police Department to investigate the complaint.  

In the 22nd District, Officer James Connell is specifically assigned to address abandoned and vacant properties.  If a property is abandoned or vacant and unsecured, Officer Connell will initiate an investigation to determine the property’s ownership status. If a property owner can be identified, efforts will be made to have the owner address any problems. If the owner does not address the situation or the owner cannot be located, Officer Connell will refer the property to the City of Chicago’s Law Department for legal action. 

 If residents have tangible information regarding illegal activity in a vacant or abandoned building, or if they have questions or concerns regarding potential troubled buildings, they should contact Officer Connell at 312-745-0620 or james.connell@chicagopolice.org. Additional information can be found online at 311.chicago.gov. 

 

Safety Update 

Police districts across the city of Chicago are hosting District Strategic Plan Community Conversations 1 and 2 in October and November to get input on quality of life issues, law enforcement and community engagement. The first meeting for the 22nd District is Tues., Oct. 13, 6 to 9 p.m. via Zoom. District personnel will gather all of the information from that conversation to determine the top three crime reduction priorities and community engagement goals for the district. At the second Community Conversation residents will have the opportunity to comment and make suggestions on the district’s priorities and goals. Sign up for the first conversation at evenbrite.com/e/022nd-district-community-conversation-1-tickets-120580989987. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND Provides Critical Support to Domestic Violence Clients 

By Kristin Boza 

A New Direction (AND) is the only domestic violence organization in Beverly/Morgan Park. Their mission is to provide counseling, education, support, and advocacy to those affected by domestic violence and to provide confidential counseling and advocacy services at no charge 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, AND staff has seen nearly double the number of clients compared to the same period last year, according to Jessica McCarihan, AND Executive Director. 

“We’ve moved our services to serve our clients virtually and we’ve had to adapt to what that means for our clients,” McCarihan said. “There’s some loss of intimacy by not being able to be in the same room as them; however, our clients are still receiving a great level of service and many find it easier to ask for help when they can do so over the phone versus inperson meetings.” 

While AND does not have a crisis line, McCarihan noted that the organization has had to move to more of a 24/7 model in order to accommodate clients who may have difficulty in getting away from their abuser to make a call. With more people staying at home, both during and after shelter-in-place orders, many more people are spending more time than usual with their abusers.  

Since services are available free-of-charge to those in need, AND relies heavily on fundraising support to fulfill its mission and keep people within the Beverly/Morgan Park communities safe. Like all other big events, AND’s annual October gala will be cancelled this year; this event provided a large portion of AND’s operating budget.  

“We are looking for ways to make up the loss of our annual event, and we really need the support from the community to help us continue to fulfill our essential mission as we enter into our tenth year of supporting this community,” McCarihan said.  

People are encouraged to stay tuned to AND’s Facebook and Instagram @ANDBMP to learn how to support the organization. 

“Domestic violence during lockdown was very hard and we’re helping more people than ever. We need the community’s support, and we are extremely grateful for it,” McCarihan said. 

If you need help, reach out to AND by calling 773-253-7226 to speak to an advocate. 

To make a donation to AND’s essential services, visit ANewDirectionBMP.org. 

 

 

Village Viewpoint – September 2020

By Gary Jenkins, BAPA Safety Liaison

I have lived in the Beverly/Morgan Park community for the past sixteen plus years. My wife Sharon and I moved here from the 6500 block of Sangamon Street.  I am originally from New York City, so Englewood was my first taste of Chicago.

Most of Englewood then, as it is now, was considered a very tough neighborhood. I wasn’t intimidated by Englewood — I’m from the southeast Bronx, and people from the Bronx aren’t intimidated easily.  So, I just did what I had done most of my life: I got involved.  I attended community revitalization meetings; I talked to neighbors and seniors about how we can make our block and neighborhood better; I swept my and other neighbors’ trash from in front of homes; and spoke to the kids on the block about things they could do to improve their chances in life.

Since I was new to Chicago back then, CAPS was a new concept to me.  I was somewhat familiar with NYC community policing efforts, but I had not participated in them in any significant way. Since I was very concerned with being safe and comfortable where I was living, I began attending CAPS meetings where I listened as neighbors shared their concerns over crime and violence on their streets.

One of the things that struck me about those meetings is that there didn’t seem to be a real connection between the residents who attended and the 7th District CAPS officers who conducted the meetings.  Residents also seemed to be reluctant about being forthcoming. I believe there was a sense of hopelessness, fear, and distrust among the residents.

When we moved to Beverly/Morgan Park, Sharon and I began attending 22nd District CAPS meetings. I was struck by how the level of issues were on two different ends of the spectrum for Englewood and Beverly/Morgan Park.  I had come from a district where murder, rape, assault and robbery were the topics of CAPS meetings to a district where kids hanging out in the park after dusk and loud music complaints topped the CAPS agenda.

There were other differences, too.

I noticed there seemed to be a closer connection between the residents and the officers, and that the meetings were attended by other community stake holders like 19th Ward and BAPA representatives. I attended many meetings over the next couple of years, then I made my voice and concerns known.

More than ten years ago I was recruited to serve in a two year term as beat facilitator for Beat 2213. As beat facilitator, I got to know and work with more of the officers of the 22nd District.

Although I have no proof, I believe that one thing that makes the relationship between the residents and officers in the 22nd District different from the 7th District is that more of our officers live in the community.

As I stated earlier, I am from the Bronx, and growing up an African American male in the Bronx, I did not have a great relationship with police officers.   I rarely saw police officers who looked like me.  On more than one occasion, I have been stopped by police because of the color of my skin.

For six years before coming to Chicago, I worked as a peace officer along with and close to law enforcement individuals of all stripes, from federal, state, and local agencies. I began to appreciate and respect the individuals behind the badges who where doing the right thing, the right way.

That is what I have come to know about the personnel at the 22nd District who I have worked with over the years: they do the right thing, the right way.

As BAPA’s Safety Liaison, I view my role with the folks at the 22nd District as merely an extension of my role as an active, concerned, member of this community.

I want to recognize how hard the officers at the 22nd District have been working and the sacrifices they make by working 12 hour shifts with no days off. Special thanks go to the 22nd District police for keeping our community safe during these turbulent times.

Student Featured in Documentary About Civil Rights Tour 

Five months after they visited the American South on a life-changing tour through civil rights history, Morgan Park Academy students are set to be featured in a documentary filmConfronting the Living History of the Civil Rights Struggle,  produced about the experience by The Nation magazine. 

Beverly/Morgan Park neighbor Caitlin Robinson, an 8th grader, was among the group of MPA 7th and 8th grade students and teachers who toured from Jackson, Mississippi, to Atlanta, Georgia in February. The group traveled under the guidance of André Robert Lee, a teacher, producer and acclaimed documentary filmmaker with years of experience leading civil rights tours in the South. 

With global studies at the core of its curriculum, MPA partnered with The Nation because of their expertise in presenting this emotionally complex material to middle school students in a way that teaches the history of the Civil Rights Movement thoughtfully, honestly, and delicately, while also teaching students the significance of the role the individual plays in determining the direction a society moves towards or away from justice. 

Traveling from Jackson, Mississippi, through the Mississippi Delta to Little Rock, Arkansas, and on to Memphis, Tennessee, students visited the sites and talked with some of the leaders of this important era of U.S. history. From there the group went to Birmingham and Selma, Alabama, finally ending the journey in Montgomery at the Lynching Museum and the Equal Justice Initiative. 

Robinson is among the students who were interviewed for the documentary, which has been released as a five minute short and will be released soon as a full-length piece. 

“My generation’s role is to continue on the fight that their ancestors started,” Robinson said“Because it’s not over, and I want to make sure people remember that.” 

“This isn’t just Black history. It’s American history,” said Josiah Fields, another MPA student.   

The experience was coordinated by Colleen Amberg, who leads development of MPA’s social studies curriculum and directs the middle school global studies program. 

“This trip changed my life,” Amberg said. “Since we got back, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about it. It was even more meaningful and historic than we anticipated, and drove home how fortunate I feel to work in a school that is so supportive of and committed to developing globally minded citizens.” 

The documentary short can be viewed on YouTube 

Celebrating nearly 150 years of educational excellence, Morgan Park Academy (MPA) is an independent college preparatory school ranked annually among the top private schools in the state and first among all schools in Chicago’s Southland area. Plans call for the school to reopen 

in August for in-person learning on the 20-acre campus at 2153 W. 111th St. Learn more at morganparkacademy.org or call 773-881-6700. 

Coronavirus: Don’t Let Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home Harm You 

 

By Kevin Scanlan 
Certified Poison Information Educator 
Illinois Poison Center 

The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is a not-for-profit public/private partnership that provides free poison information and education to all the residents of Illinois via a 24/7/365 hotline (1-800-222-1222staffed by physicians, pharmacists and other specially trained healthcare professionals. The IPC is the oldest Poison Center in the United States.  

During 2019, the IPC responded to almost 80,000 calls from the general public as well as healthcare professionals.  90% of the calls are handled without a further referral to a healthcare facility. 40% of the calls involve a child under the age of 5. 

Because of the Coronavirus outbreak, over the past several weeks, the IPC has seen a 49% increase in potentially harmful exposures to cleaning products calls as compared to last year.  The IPC estimates that they will handle close to 8,000 calls related to cleaning products over the next 12 months. 

Types of cases already handled by the IPC: 

People using non-traditional chemicals to wash their hands (bleach, hydrogen peroxide, wipes, etc.) resulting in rashesirritation and cracked skin. 

People using chemicals (bleach, wipes, cleaning powders, etc.) to wash their groceries, including produce, and exhibiting toxicity upon ingestion. 

People mixing cleaning chemicals together and inadvertently producing toxic gas. 

Children being exposed to cleaning products and/or chemicals that are  left open and/or unattended. 

Here are some tips: 

Always read the product label first and use the product according to label instructions. 

Keep all cleaning products in their original containers with original labels. 

Store cleaning products out of sight, in locked cabinets. 

Keep all household cleaning products and other potentially harmful products separated from food products. 

Never leave a cleaning product open and unattended. 

When using cleaning products, work in a well-ventilated area. 

Dispose of cleaning products according to the instructions on the label or at a chemical waste drop-off site. 

In case of a poisoning exposure, follow the first-aid steps below, then call the IPC hotline, 1-800-222-1222: 

Swallowed: Give a few sips of water to drink.  If the person is unconscious, call 911 or take them to the nearest hospital. 

Skin: Remove contaminated clothing and wash skin gently with soap and cool water. 

Eyes: Rinse eyes with lukewarm water for 15 minutes 

Fumes: Remove person to fresh air, taking care not to become exposed yourself.  If the person is not breathing, call 911 and start, if comfortable doing so, artificial respiration and continue until medical help arrives. 

 

Safety Tips as Stay-At-Home Order Continues   

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Community Safety Liaison 

As we begin another month of the City of Chicago’s stay at home order it’s good to review some important safety guidelines. Following common sense health and safety precautions is paramount to each of us for coming out on the other side of this pandemic in a better place.  Stay home, save lives. If you must go out, wear a mask, exercise social distancing (at least six feet apart where possible), if you need to come together with others do not congregate in a groups of more than ten and maintain social distancing at all times, and, most importantly, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. 

We must also be wary of the potential fraud and scams related to COVID19 government payments to both individuals and businesses.  Officials at both the FBI and IRS warn that scam artists are seeking to take advantage of unsuspecting citizens. BAPA’s COVID19 information page at BAPA.org has links to access to the websites you need to get current information from local and federal authorities. Always remember to know with whom you are sharing your information, and if the deal sounds too good and too easy to be true, it usually is. 

 As the weather begins to feel much more like spring, an understandable urge to break from your COVID confinement will come over you; I get it!  The streets are not as busy as usual, so please remember to remain aware of your surroundings and call 911 if you see anyone or anything that might not seem just right. 

Finally, with the increase in purchasing household cleaning solutions to prevent spreading the coronavirus the CDC has issued a notice that the calls to the poison control hotline have increased.  The CDC warns consumers to read the labels carefully of all cleaning solutions that you might use around the house. In case you have questions, the poison control hotline is 1-800-222-1222 and general information is available at poison.org.  

 

 

 

Scam Alert: Helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Program Coordinator  

Telephone, email, and text message scams are a very present danger in the high-tech world in which live. Scammers and thieves are utilizing both sophisticated and not so sophisticated methods to defraud and steal from unsuspecting people.   

Currently, scammers are taking advantage of these times of anxiety and uncertainty of COVID-19 to create scams coming in the form of telephone calls, direct mail, emails and text messages. Do not click on any links, answer any questions, or provide any personal information regarding COVID-19 if you did not initiate the communication. Scams offer false information such as cures for the virus, reports that someone in your family owes for doctor’s care, offers to clean air ducts to prevent the spread of the virus, etc.  

I recently received a text message on my phone that looked like it was from Chase Bank. The message alerted me that my account was locked and said I needed to click on a link for further details.  

I was a fraud investigator for over 25 years, and I grew up in the Bronx, NY, so I smelled a scam. 

I did not click on the link. Instead, I got my i-Pad, looked up the fraud number on the Chase website, and called. The Chase representative checked my accounts to determine that everything was in order and concurred with my suspicion that the text was scam.  I was instructed to forward the text message to the Chase fraud department.  I received a response from the fraud department with helpful information on what to look for regarding potential scam communications.   

Based on my experience, here are some tips for avoiding becoming a victim of a scam: 

  • Never click on a link in a text or email if you are not certain of the sender. 
  • Obtain contact information for the fraud department of your financial institution or merchant if you suspect an email or text is fraudulent. Go to the website of the financial institution or merchant to obtain the fraud hotline number.  DO NOT USE THE LINK PROVIDED IN THE TEXT OR EMAIL. 
  • Never give sensitive information via a text or email if you receive a request to do so via an email or text. 
  • Delete suspected text or email.