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Stony Island Residents Say Police Has Failed to Prevent Crimes

Stony Island residents called on police to provide more patrols and work to prevent gang disturbances at a CAPS meeting on Oct. 10

During the meeting, many of the residents said they were upset at the officers’ failure to prevent crime and gang activity.

“It is hard for an officer to do what we do,” said Officer Yolanda Nowells of the Chicago Police Department. She led the meeting and responded to residents’ criticism of police.

Nowells said “it is hard to be at all places at once.” She pointed out that officers have to catch a perpetrator while the crime is being committed to make an arrest.

Nowells said police regulations have to be obeyed and while obeying those rules it can be hard to catch criminals. She said if there is no proof or evidence, there is nothing police can do.

Margaret Simmons, 40, who said she attends CAPS meeting regularly, has lived in the area for more than 20 years. She said she has seen crime in the area get worse over time.

People need to be constant about the problem; one phone call won’t get rid of the situation, said Simmons.

Another officer who identified herself only as Sargent Ben, said there have been many complaints about Chappel Street. She said a dispute over narcotics led to a first-degree murder at 9244 S. Chappel. The shooter was arrested.

Tag teams are working to control gang violence at 9431 Chappel St., which is a home in which many gang members frequent, Ben said.

Four people have been shot in this Chappel Street location, Ben said. The city is trying to take a house because of the circumstances gangs have created.

“People in that house are taking over,” said Ben. “[Residents] need to speak up if not things won’t be done.”

Ben said she understands the frustration of the residents of Stony Island. “It takes time to capture a criminal. There needs to be enough evidence, but I assure you the job will get done,” said Ben.

Gangs such as the Gangster Disciples have been one of the main problems within the community, she said.

Simmons said she often sees young teens throwing up gang signs and shouting insults at each other. She added that many are buying and selling narcotics.

“I am ashamed of this generation,” She said in an interview after the meeting. “I wish the draft would occur all over again. Maybe then young people would see how good they have it.”

According to, a website that reports on gangs, Gangster Disciples – also known as GD’s – have 30,000 members or more.

Due to the growth of violence and gang activity, banks often walk away from abandoned properties, which are being taken over by gangs, Nowells said.

From Sept. 12 through Oct. 10, there were approximately 36 arrests and 81 calls for service for beat 411. In beat 413, there were 29 arrests and 97 calls for service during the same time period.

The next area CAPS meeting will be held on Nov. 14 at St. Felicitas Church, 1526 E. 84TH ST., at 7 p.m.

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