Saturday, April 2, 2016

Alderman Dowell Weighs in on South Loop Safety

An important email from Alderman Dowell (3rd Ward) about South Loop public safety:
I wanted to reach out to you about the shots fired on March 22nd at 2001 S. Michigan Avenue. Like you, I am very concerned about the safety of South Loop residents and am working with the Chicago Police Department, community organizations and the management of the 2001 S. Michigan Avenue building to address the issue. First off, I would like to invite you to my upcoming Town Hall meeting on April 7th at 6:00 pm at Daystar School (1550 S. State) as the 1st District Police Commander will be in attendance to discuss public safety issues in the South Loop. 
As you know, on March 22nd a report of shots fired was entered at 2001 S. Michigan Avenue. The 1st District Police Department responded quickly to the incident and was able to apprehend one of the two suspects and recover a weapon. The suspect in custody is from the west side and traveled to the South Loop neighborhood where the shots occurred. I commend the excellent work done by the 1st District to deploy resources and immediately and effectively respond to the issue. Protecting our city's residents is crucial, but there is no way to restrict the free movement of individuals across the city. 
As for your issues with Long Grove House at 2001 S. Michigan Avenue, the building and its residents have been part of the South Loop since 1971 and the overwhelming majority of building residents are valued, upstanding members of the community. I strongly believe in promoting economic and demographic diversity within all of the neighborhoods in the 3rd Ward and Long Grove House, along with dozens of other similar properties across the Ward, help ensure that residents regardless of race or socio-economic level can have access to the neighborhood of their choosing. Furthermore, I want to make it clear that not all incidents in the southern edge of the South Loop are related to the building at 2001 S. Michigan Avenue and tying all of the public safety problems in the neighborhood to Long Grove House is unproductive. 
Residents of the Long Grove House go through an extensive screening process by Habitat - the building management company - before they are permitted to live in the building. This includes barring all prospective residents who have current felonies and certain misdemeanors. No prospective tenant can move into the building with any history of violent crime and starting this summer Habitat is implementing an annual screening in which they will run background checks on all residents 18 and older. 
Additionally, if residents break any of the covenants of their lease or of the Housing Choice Voucher program (if they are receiving HCV assistance), they can lose not only their lease but their Housing Choice Voucher permanently. I can assure you my office, the 1st District Police and building management are actively enforcing tenant regulations including the removal of tenants who are in violation of their lease. According to Habitat, since 2014 (including yesterday's incident), Long Grove House has had five incidents that required the involvement of the Chicago Police Department. Of the four previous incidents, two resulted in either an eviction or the person moving from the building. In the other two prior cases, residents were either considered victims or not enough evidence was available to take further action. Evicting tenants is a very difficult process but should evictions be warranted based on the evidence gathered by the police or building management, they have been and will be ordered. Habitat also contracts security for the building who are hired to walk the premises and report incidents. This information is used in processing lease violations or if requested by the police department as part of an investigation. 
Please know that my office takes this very seriously and I have long advocated for additional police on the streets. On that note, as a South Loop resident please attend your local CAPS meetings. They are the best way to get your voice heard by the Chicago Police Department. Your local beat meeting information can be found at Additionally, if you have any ideas to help address neighborhood safety, like creating a neighborhood watch, please let me know. My office can assist you in your organizing efforts. Residents like you can have a huge impact on the overall safety of the community. 
Thank you for reaching out. My office will continue to work with community residents, the police, property managers and businesses to make the 3rd Ward the best place to live in the City.
Pat Dowell Alderman
3rd Ward

(Hat tip: KK!)

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