Tuesday, December 15, 2015

THE JINX: With Manpower Sapped, Neighborhood Endures Long Weekend Waits For Police

The timing could not have been more appropriate.

As the annual TBOX bar crawl sapped our district's police resources Saturday evening, the Chicago Sun-Times published a lengthy story about the problem of "radio assignments pending" (RAP) status within the police department.

RAPs are declared when a police district has no officers available to handle 911 calls in a timely manner.

Toward the end of the Sun-Times' story, local alderman Tom Tunney took a rare, laudable, and appreciated public stand on behalf of his constituents:
“Wrigley Field and Boystown have some of the highest robbery and burglary numbers in the city. Those are violent crimes, too. We’re seeing guns involved. It hasn’t been shootings and homicides, thank God. But there is certainly concern about safety in our district.”

Hours after the story posted, there was a gun battle on the streets of Wrigleyville on a weekend that saw our district endure a combined 21 hours of RAP status.

A Rape, A Protest And No Cops

The victim's panties were found on this hydrant. (Google)
Around 4:45 on Sunday morning, several Uptown residents reported hearing a woman screaming for help in the 4200 block of N. Marine Drive. One caller said a female victim had run into his house seeking help. Sixteen minutes later, an officer became available to take the call.

The woman had reportedly been raped. Her panties were found hanging from a fire hydrant. Her sweater was across the street, flung on the grass.

At 1:50PM on Saturday, a sketchy scene involving 150 protesters and the Ethiopian ambassador broke out in a parking garage at Truman College after the diplomat had delivered a speech. A police emergency was declared as Truman security saw the incident spiraling.

Unfortunately for those security officers (and the Ethiopian ambassador), the 19th district was very busy monitoring 20,000 drunks at a Wrigleyville bar crawl and the last available officer quickly found himself in the thick of trouble.

Tactical units from other districts had to be called in to help handle the mess.

The Point

Four years ago, the area covered by today's 19th district was actually two separate districts. But, when the districts merged in 2012, the number of police tactical teams was slashed. The number of supervisors was halved. And the district's headcount is now down nearly 30%.

Private events like TBOX now suck up manpower that should be dedicated to protecting residents and ensuring that our officers aren't endangered themselves. That needs to end. Not the partying. Not the fun. The sapping of public safety resources. That needs to end.

There is no excuse for citizens from Fullerton to Lawrence and the river to the lake to have police service hampered for 12 hours for any reason—least of all because a private entity is having an event.

To be sure, TBOX is not alone in sucking up resources.

This year's Pride Parade aftermath spawned a 7-hour RAP. Last year's Pride Parade RAP lasted 15-hours and 30-minutes.

Rap Count Revealed

Our district has one of the lowest RAP rates in the city, with 234 declared between January 2011 and August 2015, according to records reviewed by the Sun-Times.

The city refused to release RAP information for years, citing "public safety concerns." They were recently compelled to release the information to the Sun-Times after a ruling by the Illinois Attorney General's office.

But, CWB Chicago has been publishing real-time 19th district RAP data since June 2013.

We recorded 31 known RAPS between late June and the end of 2013.

There were 50 last year and we've counted 40 so far this year.

The quick response of critics may be, "well, you guys have it pretty good." Our response is a little more thought-out: All residents of Chicago deserve adequate police staffing. All.

And, alderman, thank you for speaking up publicly and on the record. More of that, please.
Email us. Facebook us. Twitter us.


  1. Well said on all points. And it's both amazing and heartening to finally see our alderman standing up and fighting for us. My cynical side says it won't last but I truly hope it helps. I almost screamed when I heard the mayor say last week that he wants everyone in the city to be treated like his own children. Although in his mind he was referring to minorities on the south and west sides, in my mind, I was thinking how I would love to be getting the treatment his kids receive. Like 24/7 police protection on their home (I'd settle for just getting our 30% back), and having half the police force respond when I'm a victim of a crime (I'd settle for just one cop to respond immediately). See, I'm not even that demanding. I'd just like what I pay for with my taxes. And I'd like my neighbors to be treated well too. And I'd like my friends and others to come to the area and not fear for their lives when they walk to and from their cars or from the Belmont El. I don't think this is asking too much, whether I live in Lakeview or Englewood.

    1. Your post is spot on. I cringed as you did when he fake-cried about how his son receives preferential treatment that the mayor himself orders for his son. CWB reports that up to 5% of our police force is idled at the mayor's home 24/7. Would one cop not do the trick? Is that not royal enough for the Emanuels?

  2. Those bars on Clark st. that have all these silly events, ought to have more security officers and NOT depend on the police!

    I shutter to think what will happen, if the Cubs win the World Series!

    19 District will NOT have enough police in the area to take care of all the drunken mayhem that comes with winning!

    1. Worse scenario: imagine if they made it to the World Series, the series was tied at 3-3, and the Cubs lost game 7. Holy mother of God, the mayhem that would occur.

  3. Pub crawls like TBOX are unregulated as per emperor Rahm’s orders. Guess Festa writes a big check to him. But TBOX like pub crawls are only part of the problem. The city has allowed a complete saturation of bars around Wrigley since the moratorium on liquor licences was lifted in the 90's. The Clark street strip of bars is nonstop nonsense 365 days a year. The quality of life for residents living close to Wrigley has gone down the toilet along with property values compared to other parts of Lake View. Solution: vote the 38th precinct dry.

  4. What happened to the 200 + security (off duty police officers) that the bars were going to hire to make sure this was not a carbon copy of last years event? Tom? Tom? You said in your newsletter that they were going to be out in full force.

    1. Private security can only do so much. When arrests need to be made, that requires police. When attendees walk off the event space, they're in police territory. When they fall down drunk on the street, that requires police. When they drunkenly go to the wrong home and kick in the back door, making the resident think their home is being invaded, that ties up police. On and on...

  5. Granted, T-Box was its usual disaster. On the flip side, 6 off duty tact teams were brought in to help handle the mayhem. More will be requested next year. There are currently 5 tact teams in 019 (1 is the entertainment team on midnites, soon to be a regular, midnite, tact teams) . The 2nd and 3rd watch are woefully undermanned, you can thank the citizens of the west and south side who come visit us on midnites for that. Gay pride should be moved. Period.

  6. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20151215/wrigleyville/tbox-denies-connection-shooting-but-neighbors-still-want-it-gone

    According to Ariel, Festa donates $25k per year to Lakeview Pantry (likely at the behest of Tom Tunney) as a part of community relations for this event.

    Those funds should be used for CPD overtime.

    Rough math: $25,000 / ~$50/hr = 500 hrs / 12hr shift = 40 extra uniformed officers for the duration of the event.

    They're already paying the money that would solve the problem. Just pay it to the right organization.

  7. F@ck TBOX and the bar owners. I want Police protection. Period. This Mayor has allowed this to spiral out of control. King Shortshanks (Daley) started this mess by not replacing Police when they retired. Rahm continues the shortage and here we sit.

  8. Get rid of this creep: Emanuel. He is probably an accessory after the fact if the law was applied properly: video sequestered, no investigation, no arrest for what was obviously a murder by police. Which is NOT to say we donn't need our good cops + hours back!