Cops may go after car parts thieves

Complaints about catalytic converter thefts may bring more action in 2022

By Tim Hadac

Nothing is final yet, but police in the Chicago Lawn (8th) District may be focusing more resources in 2022 to catalytic converter thieves in Clearing and Garfield Ridge.

That’s the implication after the second of two Community Conversations, open to district residents and held last month via Zoom.

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Chicago Police Department

The events were open to the tens of thousands of men and women who live in the district, but only several dozen participated.

Among the many concerns voiced, the loudest and clearest concerned catalytic converter thefts in Clearing and Garfield Ridge, as well as drag racing, primarily down Pulaski Road; and carjacking, primarily in the east end of the district.

Catalytic converter thefts have periodically been a sore point among motorists in Clearing and Garfield Ridge, but the issue boiled over this fall at a meeting of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch. CPD CAPS Officer Raymond Tracy noted that from late September through early October, police received reports of catalytic converters being stolen from vehicles parked near 57th and Mason, 58th and Mason, 59th and Austin, 54th and Nagle, 52nd and Narragansett, 54th and Nordica, 58th and Natoma, 51st and Newcastle, 58th and Normandy. 55th and Natoma, 52nd and Rutherford, 55th and Monitor, 53rd and Normandy, and 53rd and Neenah. The vehicles were parked on the street.

He added that the most recent vehicles targeted appear to be mostly Mitsubishi Outlanders and the Honda Sierra CRV. In the past, thieves have targeted the Jeep Liberty.

Those crimes may be part of a larger wave of thefts. Reporting on the meeting by the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound spurred a spate of online claims by other motorists that they, too, saw their vehicles’ catalytic converters stolen, But they had not reported the thefts to police.

Crews are striking elsewhere on the Southwest Side. Last week, CPD issued a community alert noting no fewer than 14 recent catalytic converter thefts, mostly in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood.

The crew committing those thefts included at least one member armed with a gun.

The Community Conversations are part of a larger body of activity required by the federal consent decree of 2019. The decree is designed to reform the Chicago Police Department and make it, among other things, more directly accountable to the people it serves.

Those unable to attend but want to share their opinions on police priorities for 2022 are advised to send an email to [email protected]

Police were non-committal about exactly how the suggestions will be incorporated into the Eighth District’s 2022 law enforcement plan, but it is expected that Commander Bryan Spreyne will announce a decision later this month.