Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch issues call for vigilance, involvement
Just as the springtime beauty of daffodils is accompanied by
blooms of unwanted dandelions, so too is the joy over mild weather tempered
with concern over the seasonal resurgence of petty crime, members of the
Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch said earlier this week.
“As we move forward into spring and enjoy the outdoors, we should
remember a few things to make sure that our neighborhood remains what it isÑa
place where crime is relatively low and the quality of life is high,” said GRNW
President Al Cacciottolo.
The admonition came at the GRNW’s monthly meeting, held Monday
night at the TCF Bank branch at 6141 S. Archer. About 50 men and women, mostly
GRNW members, attended.
The return of warm weather means the return of what many in
Garfield Ridge consider a seasonal nuisance, judging by comments at
neighborhood meetings in recent years: men walking up and down local alleys and
taping advertising leaflets to garage door frames.
The leaflets typically tout the services of small home-improvement
“These guys use tape, and often when you remove the flyer, your
garage’s paint comes off with it,” Cacciottolo said, adding that some of the
men in years past were found to be casing back yards and returning later to
steal grills, patio furniture and other belongings.
In his position as 23rd Ward superintendent for the Chicago
Department of Streets and Sanitation, Cacciottolo said he helps enforce a city
ordinance that calls for fines and even arrests of those taping leaflets to
“We are issuing citations because we are fed up,” he said. “It’s
the same thing over and over. I’ve explained to these guys that they’re wasting
their time and money by putting these flyers up–because we pull them down.”
Cacciottolo added that he has drafted students from Kennedy High
School to help pull the leaflets down.
“These kids are on detentionÑand they need to get off detentionÑso
they need to do community service hours, so I’ve got them going up and down the
alleys,” he said. “Hopefully, in the next day or so, we’ll get them all taken
down. I’ve gotten four bags of these things from the kids.”
CPD CAPS Sergeant Randi O’Carroll, at the meeting as an invited
speaker, addedÑin response to a questionÑthat people who see men taping
leaflets to garages should call 911 immediately and give an accurate
description of the worker, including location and in what direction he is
Garfield Ridge residents are also invited to call the GRNW’s
toll-free tip line at 1-855-811-TIPS.
Other heightened concerns related to warmer weather discussed at
the meeting included:
¥ Drag racing and loitering on Archer Avenue. GRNW members advised
everyone to pay special attention to Dunkin’ Donuts and 7-Eleven, which some
said can attract loiterers and drag racers.
¥ Teenagers hanging out at The Pit, an area along the Belt Railway
tracks immediately south of Valley Forge Park, 7001 W. 59th St. Those who see
anyone trespassing on railroad property are encouraged to call 911 immediately,
and then Belt Railway police at (312) 543-8269 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and (312)
543-3658 at all other hours.
¥ Kennedy High School students and the potential for mischief.
“There aren’t [crime-related] issues with Kennedy students right now, but when
school gets out at 2:45, there’s an abundance of kids,” Cacciottolo said.
“They’re going to be on the island (the Solidarity Triangle at Archer and
Mulligan, where many Kennedy students board CTA buses). So let’s be out there,
be visible, let them see you, they know the red shirt [of the GRNW].”
Also at Monday’s meeting, GRNW board member Arlene White said the
group’s Sell-A-Bration is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21 at Kennedy
High School’s west parking lot, near 56th and Narragansett.
The popular event is essentially a community garage sale. Those
who want to reserve a space for a nominal fee should call (773) 229-1993 or
visit garfieldridgenw.com. This year, vendors (such as Avon, Tupperware and
more) are invited to be a part of the mix. Volunteers are also needed to
promote the event, as well as staff it.
Proceeds from the event will be earmarked for several charitable
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