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CAPS wrap: Kenwood residents learn ways to fight crime

Residents in the Kenwood area learned more details at a recent CAPS meeting about the fatal shooting of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl whose accidental death has drawn worldwide attention to gun violence in Chicago.

Chicago police officer Denise Gathings told residents in attendance that the driver of the car from which shots were fired had no idea there was going to be violence that day.a logo from CAPS

“You’re responsible for who you hang out with,” said Gathings, noting that the driver became part of the crime because he was driving the car.

“It seems the more we put [shootings] in the paper, the more we want to try it,” said Gathings, adding that the media often sensationalize crime.

Concerned residents and community activists also wanted to know how to stop the drug dealers in the neighborhood and make the community safer.

Gathings looked around the dim room and told the residents that the Chicago Police Department was trying to get homeless veterans off the streets and into shelters or VA hospitals to help reduce the number of drug dealers.

“The homeless vets blend in with the drug dealers,” said Gathings.

She said officers ride down streets and alleys, but more will go on foot in hopes of slowing down drug dealers.

Duwain Bailey, 45, from Bronzeville, who works for the Chicago Housing Authority, said making the community safer, “has to be a city-wide effect.”

Some residents complained about their neighbors playing music too loud.

“Knock on your neighbors door if you don’t think he’ll kill you,” said Gathings.

She told the residents to “communicate with your neighbors before you call the cops.”

Oscar Torres, 911 Center Dispatcher, said, the best way to stop people from playing loud music and disturbing residents is to call 911.

“You should call 911 if you want the police to respond,” said Torres.

Torres also spoke about a new program the city is implementing to help with dispatching.

The Alternative Response Section Reporting Guidelines helps police officers respond to emergencies quickly and efficiently.
Officers will no longer respond to calls of criminal theft, burglaries and vandalism. Torres said, police officers would no longer respond to calls where the perpetrator is not present and the victim is no longer in danger.

“When there’s a threat to life or someone is hurt, that’s when they [911 dispatchers] send officers out,” said Torres.

He said if it’s a non-emergency, officers will take a report over the phone.

“Police set up priority system. Dispatchers follow the guidelines,” said Torres.

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