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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

contractors.

“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

private property.

“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

walking.

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

endeavors.

This story is just one of many that appear in this week’s edition

of the Southwest News-Herald. Want to get the all the news? Pick up the

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