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Call for Better Police Response in South Loop

Story by Autumn Reese

Submitted on Mon, 06/02/2008 – 21:48.

Police officers at a recent South Loop CAPS meeting said crime in the neighborhood has decreased, but a local property manager disagreed.

Jack Beebe said there were prostitution and drug crimes at the upscale high rise he manages at 1620 S. Michigan Avenue.

“We are being called – 1620 S. Michigan Ave. trailer park,” said Beebe. “People are investing in the condos and are then turning around and renting to anyone. We don’t have a doorman, and one problem we are having is with criminal trespass,” Beebe said.

Residents enter the building by punching a code that opens a large glass door, but anyone can enter while the door is open. “We are changing that, but I want to make sure police respond when there is a problem,” said Beebe.

Jennifer Jones lives in the building next door to Beebe’s, and she is concerned.

“Our building does offer a 24-hour doorman, but I can imagine that it is not 100 percent effective. I have been mugged twice in the past year and it is frightening to think that this type of stuff is going on where I live,” said Jones.

Beebe spoke up early at the April 15 meeting and said he was concerned about one case in particular and what he called a poor police response.

“We had an incident where a man had entered the building by following someone who had entered his code in,” said Beebe. “He was going door-to-door knocking and trying to get people to open their doors. We had several residents call 911 and report a suspicious man in the building and no officers responded to the building.”

Beebe reviewed the building’s security tapes and saw the man had left without incident, but he’s frustrated he said because police failed to check out the 911 calls.

Beebe said he would like more officers on foot patrol in the area, or officers who pay closer attention to the neighborhood.

Officer Oscar Torres of the city’s 911 Center told the group police respond to calls based on the nature of the crime.

“We respond to life-threatening calls first,” said Torres. “If someone’s life is immediately threatened, those calls are a priority. I will review the call and see what happened in your situation. I am very sorry that it was not responded to, I will definitely see what happened.”

Officers told Beebe to tell residents of his building to call 911 if a problem arises, because more calls could mean a bigger budget and possibly new officers for the South Loop.

The CAPS officers said there were some encouraging signs. Calls about prostitiution decreased from three to one and citizen complaints about drugs dropped significantly from 15 to 5. However assaults increased from four to seven cases between March 18 and April 14.

Some residents of 1620 S. Michigan called Beebe’s comments shocking.

“It’s scary to think that all of that is going on,” said tenant Stephanie Jenks. “I never really thought about someone following me into the building, but I will be much more careful now. I guess I am most shocked about the drug and prostitution problems. You think prostitution only happens on seedy street-corners in bad parts of town. It’s alarming to think about what is really going on in my neighbors’ apartments.”

City Life In the Loop Public
caps crime prostitution south loop

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