In the last week, four violent crimes shook up some residents in Oak Lawn but most of their neighbors never knew the crimes took place since the Village of Oak Lawn failed to notify residents through the media or through the Everbridge Alert System.
Chicagoland Dispatch reported that there were two attempted home invasions on January 2, 2017 with four offenders attempting to break into a home at 5834 W. 100th Street who fled when the Oak Lawn Police arrived.
January 2, 2017 *Safety Alert*..Oak Lawn (2107) attempted home invasion at 5800 block of 100th St..(4) offenders seen breaking into a home and fled upon arrival of Police..unable to locate suspects..
That same night, Chicagoland Dispatch reported again that the homeowner at 4124 W. 91st Place was victimized when two offenders tried to enter the home and had a confrontation with the homeowner before fleeing.
Oak Lawn (0008) attempted home invasion at 4100 block of 91st Place..(2) offenders involved with (1) entering the residence..(1) offender maced the homeowner and they fought back with both suspects fleeing the scene..no good description of the suspects in either incidents (RM911)
The Oak Lawn Leaf checked the Village of Oak Lawn’s website for Everbridge Alerts and “crime alerts” and found that neither report was listed and an alert was not given although the suspects fled, and according to Chicagoland Dispatch, were not apprehended. The Oak Lawn Leaf has not seen any police reports for the two incidents, despite making a request for both reports on Tuesday January 3rd at approximately 10 a.m. On January 6th, the police department denied that there were any reports for home invasions at either location.
The failure to provide media access to violent crime reports as well as the failure to publicize the events in order to warn residents of possible dangers raises questions of a lack of transparency and possibly hiding crime reports in an effort to manage public outrage over crime increases.
One highly placed former police official in the Village of Oak Lawn said that it is “probable” that the reports were kept quiet and away from the media because of the upcoming election and the embarrassment it would cause for the administration. However, Trustee Robert Streit, who recently announced his candidacy for Mayor said that the village has never had such a policy. “Those police reports should be released immediately and a Everbridge Alert should have gone out,” said Streit.
Streit, who pushed for the police department to provide police reports to Trustees said that he was not provided the reports in question. He said it was even more disturbing that residents were not notified that violent criminals were loose in the neighborhood. “The administration has to do a better job of informing the residents and protecting the people from these criminals,” said Streit. He said that in the past he has used reports of crimes in his newsletters to inform residents of possible criminal activity in the area.
Yesterday, the third and fourth violent crimes in the week occurred with another bank robbery being reported by the Chicago Sun-Times and a barbershop being robbed by two men at night. According to the Sun-Times, the FBI is investigating the armed robbery of the TCF Branch in the Jewel Food Store at 8801 S. Ridgeland Avenue.
According to the report, the suspect, a black male, fled east on 87th in a vehicle, thought to be an SUV, with a female driver.
The barbershop armed robbery involved three black males, with one armed with an assault weapon and two with handguns. Cash and cell phones were taken from customers and employees and the suspects escaped on foot.
Streit said that the home invasions are classic cases that could be prevented by the adoption of his plan to add more patrols without increasing taxes. Mayor Bury and her allies have dismissed the plan. “We need more police patrols in our neighborhoods,” said Streit.
Streit said that Village Manager Larry Deetjen did notify the board of the bank robbery and noted that the assailant did not show a weapon. He said late Thursday night that Deetjen also notified the board by email about the robbery at the barbershop. The last Everbridge Crime Alert posted to the Village Website is found below:
Post Date:11/16/2016 4:50 PM
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Oak Lawn Police Department are looking for information in reference to two offenders who robbed a U.S. Postal Service Letter Carrier with a knife. The incident occurred in the 10600 block of Lavergne Ave in Oak Lawn on 11/14/16 at approximately 4:15 PM. The offenders were observed fleeing Eastbound on 106th Pl towards Cicero Ave in a dark colored Chevy Impala.
The two offenders are described as M/B, late teens to early 20’s, 5’06” to 5’10” tall, with slim builds. One of the subjects was wearing a black Click here for a sketch of the offenders.