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CAPS wrap: Police warn of robberies in Ashburn neighborhood

Police warned Ashburn residents of criminals targeting the elderly at a CAPS meeting last month in the neighborhood on the

Ford City Mall Sign Chicago, IL USA
Ford City Mall Sign Chicago, IL USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

city’s Southwest side.

Held at Bogan High School, the CAPS meeting covered crime in Chicago Police District 8, beat 834, between Kedzie Avenue, Pulaski Road and Cicero Avenue, and the areas between 79th and 87th streets.

The meeting was largely attended by senior citizens, and Chicago Police Sgt. Allen Cain said many crime victims during the past month were elderly residents.

Cain talked about a recent robbery in which an 83-year-old-man’s wallet was stolen, during the robbery the victim suffered a dislocated shoulder and broken hip.

Cain said on Feb. 7, the offender rang the man’s doorbell on the 3900 block of West 82nd Street, and told the victim someone had damaged his garage. The man walked over to his garage but saw no damages or signs of vandalism, Cain said. The offender told the victim he should report the incident and walked into the house with the victim.

Once inside, the offender knocked him down, but the man got up and fought back and tried to spray mace into the offender’s face. The offender then tried to tie and lock the victim up in a bedroom.

The victim managed to get out and confronted the offender again. The offender took his wallet and the victim was injured.

The offender, described between 30-40 years old, has not been arrested, police said.

“The old man fought relentlessly,” said Cain. “I say this at every CAPS meeting. I don’t care who is knocking, if you don’t know them, do not answer the door.”

Cain said, “We live in tough economic times. Right now these guys will go up and down to get a buck.” He said it is impossible to describe the typical robber. “Anybody is doing it—women, men, Black, White, Hispanic. Just to make a quick dollar. Be careful who you open the door to.”

In other action, Parental Patrol Coordinator Maria Martinez talked about the importance of parental participation in schools.

“Out of 1,000 parents, only four or five show up to support the parent patrol project,” Martinez said.

“People want to blame the police when teenagers or kids get caught between cross fire, but parents are not getting involved. We need action, not reaction, “said Martinez.

Reba Brown, a Local School Council member at Bogan High School, also spoke about her involvement in the school.

“It’s not the police’s fault that the parents are not as involved as they used to be,” said Brown. “We need to connect with our schools. Some students do not want to attend Bogan because the feel unsafe.”

Brown said that during LSC meetings, she notices more participation from Hispanic parents than others. “I don’t see color, I see action. But we cannot do it alone, we need the police’s help,” she said.

Brown said that there is a need to have stronger communication between the parents, the school and the police.

“These students are children, and they have parents that should be disciplining them,” she said.

Also at the meeting was Chicago Police Tactical Sgt. Mark Zenere.

Zenere discussed the Ford City Mall mob action that took place on Feb. 25. Zenere said there were about 1,000 people in the mob action, mostly 16-year-old girls and their mothers.

Besides the weekend shoppers, the large crowd was there to watch the music group Mindless Behavior.

Zenere said security guards were able to keep the crowd under control.  “The disturbance happened after the event was over,” he said. “These girls rushed to the band members and then it got out of control. This reminded me so much of the Beatles—girls screaming out of control.

Zenere said he made the call to have the mall closed. He said he was concerned with the safety of the mall shoppers. “I called for back-up. About 50 squad cars showed up. We had great police response.”

Zenere said the disturbance was simply “exuberant youth acting out.”

“It was blown out of proportion by the media, You Tube and the helicopter,” said Zenere. “There were no gangbangers; 80-90 percent were 16-year-old girls.”

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