Friday, October 28, 2016

Chicago police urge University Commons to hire private security after shooting

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Chicago IL Oct 28 2016  In response to outrage over a recent shooting, Chicago Police are urging University Commons neighbors to consider hiring private security to patrol the development's 900 units.
Concerned about an October shooting that damaged a sprinkler and waste line inside of a University Commons garage, about 75 neighbors packed a Beat 1232 CAPS meeting at the Near West Police Station Tuesday. Officer Paris Edwards said it was the largest crowd he had seen attend a Near West Side CAPS meeting in his 18 years on the job.
At the meeting, Nancy Arroyo, 12th District CAPS coordinator for the Chicago Police, asked University Commons management if they were considering hiring a private security firm. Many large buildings and developments hire private security to patrol, she said, noting that citizens don't expect the police to patrol all stories of the Willis Tower.
Police Sgt. Juan Clas said that hiring private security guards and adding more cameras around the six-building property are proactive steps the condo association can take to deter crime.
Cory Tanzer, vice president of the University Commons condo board, said that the board has not formally discussed hiring private security to date. Nearby University Lofts, 811 W. 15th Place and 833 W. 15th Place all have some form of security, he said.
Resident Bibi Le said after the meeting that several security guards would have to be working at once to properly patrol the six four-story buildings, a move that she said would be cost prohibitive.
Instead, police need to be better communicating with neighbors about crime and ongoing investigations, Le said. She wants University Village to be known as "a neighborhood that you don't want to mess with."
"Because we will find you and put you in jail," Le said.
Threatened by an uptick in citywide shootings and other crime, neighbors in the Gold Coast and Lakeview have opted to hire private security to patrol their blocks.
Thirteen people have been injured or killed in seven shootings in a half-square mile area in University VIllage bound by West Roosevelt Road, South Morgan Street, West 14th Street and South Throop Street this year.
Tony Gonnella, president of the University Village Neighborhood Alliance, noted that many of the shootings occurred near the UIC Police station or Near West Police station.
"What are we waiting for, a UIC student or a [University Village] resident to get hit?" he asked police.
At the meeting, University Commons property manager April Daly said that she didn't think police were taking the investigation seriously. As of Tuesday, she had not been contacted by a detective in the case, she said.
While the shooting only caused damage to property, someone could have been seriously hurt, she said.
"We're not getting any information at all," Daly said.
While police have acquired "really good" photos of the three suspects from surveillance video, Clas said that a key witness in the case has not cooperated with police. The case is in a suspended status until more information is gathered, he said.
"The person who can help in this investigation is not," Clas said, declining to name the individual. Sources close to the investigation said the uncooperative witness is a University Commons tenant that the three suspects were looking for the night of the garage shooting.
Edwards said that despite a stalled investigation, Near West Cmdr. Edward Kulbida is talking the case seriously.
"Anytime there is shots fired, the commander takes it seriously," he said.

The old South Water Market buildings, located primarily on 14th Place and 15th Street, were converted into condominiums in 2003.

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