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Introducing CAPS Community Organizer Belinda Washington 

By Gary Jenkins 

Belinda J. Washington is not a Chicago Police Officer, she is a civilian, yet she serves in a vital role as the 22nd District’s Community Organizer.  As much as it important for the community to get know the officers who serve the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods, it is also important to get to know the civilians who works night and day with the CAPS office and its police officers.   

As the 22nd District’s community organizer, Washington’s role is to help manage the CAPS office, organize district-wide community events, and communicate with the residents of 22nd District about activities and events being sponsored by the 22nd District.  

This month marks Washington’s 22nd year with the Chicago Police Department, and she has been at the 22nd District for five years.  As a function of her role, she attends Beat meetings, National Night Out events, Outdoor Roll Calls, and just about any public event the 22nd District has going on in the community. She also sends out correspondence via email and newsletters to help keep residents informed on the goings on at the 22nd District. 

Having served as a Beat Facilitator for the more than ten years and participated in numerous 22ND District events over the same time period, I have had the opportunity to work with two 22nd District Community Organizers. Washington came in and immediately familiarized herself with the neighborhoods and people. Her dedication and commitment to her profession and the people she serves are apparent from the moment you meet her. The people of this community are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and professional CAPS office, and Belinda Washington is a vitally important part of that office. 

Say Hello to Your 22nd District CAPS Officer 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Safety Liaison 

Meet the 22nd District’s Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy Officer, Kurrin Beamon. Officer Beamon has been at this position for four years. Part of her responsibilities include but, not are limited to, organizing and conducting clergy meetings, safety seminars and beat meetings.  

From our first meeting, Officer Beamon’s energy and commitment to her work was immediately apparent.  I have served as CAPS Beat Facilitator for Beat 2213 for about 12 years (I’ve lost track of how many!). In those years, the 22nd District has been blessed with very dedicated Beat Officers: Sgt. Hurley, Sgt. Lewis, Officer Northcross and now Officer Beamon.   

Officer Beamon continues the fine work of her predecessors, and she has taken it to a new level. As BAPA’s Safety Coordinator, I have attended 22nd District Beat meetings in addition to the  Beat 2213 meetings, and seen how Officer Beamon’s meetings are run in a very professional manner, both allowing for spirited conversations, and, more importantly, problem solving discussions. Officer Beamon is quick to remind attendees that the goal of the meetings is for the police and the community to work together to find solutions to problems in the community.   

Officer Beamon has organized outdoor community events in areas of the district that have shown a spike in crimesThese  events are designed to bring the community and the officers together in a social setting  to forge better understanding, trust and communication. Officer Beamon utilizes social media platforms to help keep the residents of the 22nd District updated.  

In her years at the 22nd District, Officer Beamon has worked seamlessly with both the 19th Ward office and BAPA, hosting security and safety seminars for residents and small businesses. These events have been popular and successful. among the most successful of these events is where residents and businesses are brought together with actual burglars to hear firsthand how to better protect their homes and businesses from break-ins.   

 

22nd District Beat Meetings Change Format 

 

Last month the 22nd District Police CAPS Office held its first Beat meeting under the new COVID-19 State of Illinois and City of Chicago guidelines.  The meeting was held inperson at the District Office. The Aug. and Sept meetings will be held via Zoom, accessible online at zoom.us/join or dial in, 312-626-6799.  

Using the new format, Beats in the 22nd District are now divided into sectors for the online meeting platform.  Beats 2211, 2212 and 2213 are in Sector 1 and will meet Tues., Aug. 11 and Sept. 15, 6 p.m. 

Use meeting ID: 982 7618 5186 and password: 347128. 

Beats 2221, 2222 and 222, are in Sector 2 and will meet Wed., Aug. 12 and Sept. 16, 6 p.m. Use meeting ID: 923 2135 9813 and password: 548867. 

For more information, contact the 22nd District CAPS Office, 312-745-0620. 

 

22nd District CAPS Profile: Officer James Connell 

By Gary Jenkins 
BAPA Community Safety Liaison 

Officer James Connell is the Chicago Police Departments Abandoned Buildings Officer for the 22nd District, and he has been in that role for the past six years. One of his responsibilities in that role is to follow up on complaints from residents regarding buildings and homes. Although the abandoned building officer fields all types of complaints about problem properties, complaints involving overgrown yards, and buildings and homes in need of obvious repairs are usually referred to Pat Hefferman, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, 312-933-2763. 

If a property appears to have been abandoned or is vacant or unsecured, Officer Connell will initiate an investigation to determine the ownership status. If a property owner can be identified, efforts will be made to have the owner address the problems. If the owner does not address situation, or the in the case of an abandoned or vacant property, where the owner cannot be located, Officer Connell will refer the property to City of Chicago’s Law Department for legal action.  

If residents have tangible information regarding illegal activity in a vacant or abandoned buildingor if they have questions or concerns regard potential troubled buildings, they should contact Officer Connell, 312-745-0620 or email james.connell@chicagopolice.org. 

Besides notifying Officer Connell, residents can call 311 or visit City of Chicago websites that have very helpful information: 311.chicago.gov orwww.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/troubled_buildinginnitiativetbi.html 

Surveillance Systems Protect Homes and Businesses

By Kristin Boza

Video surveillance systems offer homeowners and businesses an affordable way to monitor their property, according to Tom Rezetko, owner of Enterprise Network Services in Evergreen Park.ENS offers a variety of options depending on the home or business owner’s needs, utilizing the latest in affordable technology.

“The nice thing about today’s technology is that through your internet connection at home or work, you can view the video feed remotely from your Smartphone or PC,” Rezetko said. “When you’re at work or on vacation, you can check your video feed with a wireless access. We found our clients value this service.”

Surveillance cameras can be installed outside of your home or business, or inside. “We normally place external cameras at the entrances to the building, and areas between buildings to monitor any place someone could penetrate a home or business,” Rezetko said. Internal cameras could be used to keep an eye on your children who are alone after school while you’re at work, or even to make sure an elderly parent is staying safe while alone all day.

The feed records 24/7 and is saved on a Network Video Recorder, or NVR, for storage retrieval. This can be accessed at any time in case of emergency, and a copy can be downloaded to a thumb drive. “Video quality is improving immensely compared to how it used to be, and we see it continuing to improve. A better picture quality lets you see more at a distance and allows for better viewing in dark places; night viewing technology has also improved,” Rezetko said.

Video is typically stored for up to six weeks. After that time, the oldest recordings will automatically delete first. “What we’ve seen is if there’s an incident in the area, the police will look around to see if any neighbors have cameras and will ask to see their feed,” Rezetko said.

When cameras are installed, ENS is careful to ensure the cameras fit in well with the home. “People are sensitive with having cameras hanging off the house, so we blend them in,” he said. A typical home will have at least four cameras placed on the outside. Rezetko’s team makes sure cables are concealed as much as possible and that all connections are protected. They also will setup your Smartphone or PC to allow you to monitor the feed, so it can be used immediately with minimal work from the home or business owner.

Rezetko says that cameras could be a deterrent from a crime occurring at a home or business. “It’s a service that provides value for the consumer and it really helps law enforcement as well,” he said. “We always make sure that we install a product that does what it’s supposed to do, while being aesthetically pleasing to the home’s exterior.”

Contact ENS at 773-583-4009 info@enterprisenetsvc.com

 

 

 

 

Holiday Safety Tips

By Kristin Boza

Many holiday safety tips are common sense: don’t forget to blow out your candles each night, remember to lock your car, and make sure your holiday lights don’t have any frayed cords. However, there are some things that you may not think of. Follow these tips to ensure a safe, happy holiday season for your home, your pets and your family!

Fire Safety

Beverly/Morgan Park resident and firefighter/EMT Joe Walsh sees a lot of cooking mishaps and dry Christmas trees as the reasons for calling for help in December.

“We don’t get called out for many fires during this time, but we see a lot of cooking pans that have too much liquid in them and are splattering over the stove,” he said. “The entire place will fill with smoke. Be sure to use a bigger pan to accommodate whatever you’re cooking,” he said. And despite repeated warnings every year, dry Christmas trees are a very real hazard. Walsh stresses that Christmas trees will light up if they’re left unwatered.

Pet Safety

Carl Kogut, owner of Animal Krackers, 3309 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park, warns that holiday lights, plants and ornaments can be dangerous for pets.

“Poinsettia plants are number one on the holiday list, and lilies are known to be dangerous to cats,” Kogut said. If ingested, poinsettias can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets, while lilies can cause acute kidney failure in cats.

Kogut also warns about dangling wires from Christmas tree lights.

“Along with the risk of being chewed on, they are also a danger for pets running under the tree,” he said. “The electricity may not harm the animal because lights are low voltage, but it can start a fire. Homeowners should try to secure the lights to the tree so they don’t hang down and get wrapped around the pet.”

Ornaments that are easily breakable or the perfect size to be swallowed should be placed higher up on the tree. And beware of ribbons, string or tinsel; if ingested, it may not pass through the pet and can cause an intestinal blockage.

If you plan to travel with your pet, be sure to always put them in the backseat, and never on your lap while you’re driving.

“It may be cute, but it’s not so cute when it creates an accident and someone else gets injured,” Kogut said. “Secure the animal in a traveling crate or secure it with specially designed belts for pets.”

Don’t forget to treat your pets this holiday season. Animal Krackers carries a variety of holiday-themed dog treats and toys, as well as dog beds and aquarium kits.

Personal Safety

Thanks to the 22nd Police District CAPS office for these tips:

When you’re out shopping or enjoying public holiday events, always be aware of your surroundings. Be sure to limit your cell phone use, since any smart phone is a target for thieves.

Watch out for pickpockets in crowded spaces. Typically, pickpockets will work together: one will bump into you and distract you while the other steals from your purse or pocket. Separate your house keys from your car keys, and never carry your keys in a purse. In the event a purse is stolen, then you will still have your keys to access your car and home.

Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry when running errands, as this will also attract thieves.

Some thieves will “window shop” your home before breaking in. To avoid this, keep your curtains closed when you’re home or away. Also consider installing motion sensor lights around your home to deter anyone who may break in.

If you leave your home for any period of time, leave some lights on and ask your neighbors to keep an eye on the house and pick up any packages that may be delivered.

Any items left unattended and visible in your car are targets for thieves. Be sure to remove the items when you come home, or hide them in your trunk if you’re running multiple errands.

Always park close to your destination and in a well-lit area.

 

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