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Citizens Question Police About Prostitution, Priorities In 23rd Ward

Prostitution is once again on the rise between in Beat 814, between 43rd and 55th St., according to Beat Facilitator Holly Petroschuk.

According to Petroschuk, prostitution is a continuing problem in the community and has been for a while. The problem died down but now it is an issue again, Petroschuk told attendees at a CAPS meeting.

Prostitute waiting for customers.
Image via Wikipedia

“I have two young daughters. They can’t walk to the store without being propositioned by guys driving down the street who are looking for the hoes that walk our streets,” Petroschuk said. “I have a problem with it. They are not going to do what they do on my block or my beat without my calling the police on them.”

A woman attendee agreed with Petroschuk, but also noted how frustrated she was by what she said was the lack of response shown by the police when it came to the issue of prostitution.

The attendee said the police are never there when she calls about the prostitutes.

“They are on my block all the time,” the attendee told the officers. “When I call, they don’t come. No disrespect. I’m waiting for a bus at 5:30 in the morning. There is hookers all over Cicero. You guys aren’t there. Nobody comes. I have called and called and called.”

A male attendee asked directly if prostitution was really a priority for the police. He asked Petroschuk and the officers if they should be focusing on other crimes in the area. The man called it a waste of time.

“You arrest them and they just go back to jail and get bailed out by the pimps,” the man said. “They are still going to be doing it.”

Another woman was more concerned about her son, whom she said had been racially profiled by the police.  She told the officers that twice her son was walking home from the bus stop to her house where he was stopped.

“I have an issue with that,” said Martha Dominguez, a city-wide teacher. “Of course I’m not going to believe my son is 100 percent wonderful or anything, but I do have a concern with it. If it happens another time I might not go to the police. I might have to go up higher.”

The residents said they were fed up with additional liquor licenses in the neighborhood after Alderman Michael Zalewski (23rd) promised no more of them. Petroschuk told the residents that all they could do was call the alderman. One woman responded by asking rhetorically how long he was going to be their alderman.

“Probably forever,” Petroschuk said. “We have tried to band together to vote him out. We lost. He won.”

Beat 814 is located in the 23rd Ward. Zelewski, first elected in 1995, is serving his 5th term in the Chicago City Council. The 23rd Ward has about 58,000 residents, and includes the Archer Heights, Garfield Ridge, Clearing, West Elsdon and Leclaire Hearst Communities.

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