The University of Chicago Police Department reported slight to significant decreases in violent crime and property crime in all sections of its coverage area over the first six months of 2020 compared with January to June of 2019.

In North Kenwood-Oakland, the UCPD reported significant decreases in overall violent and property crimes, attributable to decreases in robberies, burglaries, thefts and motor vehicle thefts.

In Hyde Park-South Kenwood, there were decreases in overall violent crime, attributable to a small reduction in robberies, and property crime, attributable to reductions in theft and motor vehicle theft.

And in Woodlawn, there was a slight decrease in overall violent crime and significant decrease in the three categories of property crime.

At a July 22 Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting, Sgt. Yolanda Walton attributed the crime decreases largely to people staying home during the pandemic and a corresponding increase in residents' vigilance and crime-reporting.

More officer visibility has helped, too, and Walton said that additional attention from police detectives on area robberies and 2nd District collaboration with them has helped investigations.

Detective Sgt. Joel Krettek said having the UCPD in the area supplements CPD work, especially in Hyde Park, saying those officers help with robbery investigations and other crimes. He confirmed that he personally has not seen the rise in violent crime in the 2nd District that other districts are experiencing.

Across the 30th Sector, which includes the Hyde Park and Washington Park neighborhoods, there were two shootings (both homicides) between June 23 to July 20, both in beats outside of Hyde Park. There was a robbery in Beat 234, which covers the area between Woodlawn Avenue, Hyde Park Boulevard, 55th Street and the lakefront. Over the preceding reporting period, there were six shootings (no homicides) and no robberies.

In Beat 233, which covers the Washington Park and the area between Hyde Park Boulevard, 55th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, the top calls for service over the reporting period were over burglar alarms, fireworks, commercial alarms and domestic disturbances. There were 170 total calls for service.

In Beat 234, the top calls for service were over fireworks, music disturbances, well-being checks and domestic disturbances. There were 389 total calls for service.

In Beat 235, which covers the area roughly east of Cottage Grove Avenue between 55th and 61st streets, excluding Jackson Park, the top calls were over burglar alarms, fireworks, music disturbances, automobile accidents and general disturbances. There were 327 total calls for service.

In response to complaints about fireworks and large gatherings, Walton said police are having difficulty controlling such behavior, such as by requiring face mask-wearing, when people are acting willfully ignorant of the pandemic. But she said police are trying to address the behavior while respecting people's civil liberties. Complaints about fireworks, she said, are low priority for the police.

If police officers are not wearing face masks, Walton said to call a supervisor and tell them. The 2nd District's phone number is 312-747-8366.

CAPS community organizer Akeya Channell asked anyone interested in organizing a block club for their block of neighborhood to call the 2nd District CAPS office at the aforementioned number, adding that they are great ways for residents to pass information about local crimes to the police and neighbors. She is working on establishing seven now but said last week that she would like to start 10 or 20.

The next CAPS meeting for the 20th Sector, which includes Kenwood and southern Bronzeville, will be on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and the 30th Sector's meeting will be on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Walton said the meetings will be virtual, held over Zoom; online registration will likely go live in the coming weeks.

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