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Local News

Police and residents call for citizen involvement in fighting crime in Joliet neighborhood

JOLIET – People will solve more crimes than cameras, Forest Park neighbors agreed Tuesday.

But getting people to talk isn’t so easy.

Fighting crime in the neighborhood was the focus of the Monday meeting of the Forest Park Neighborhood Council.

Joliet police and representatives from the Housing Authority of Joliet joined the meeting aimed at dealing with two recent fatal shootings at the Fairview Homes housing complex.

HAJ officials said they are working on improving the security cameras at Fairview. But more citizen involvement will be a surer way to fight crime, neighbors and police agreed.

“I want you to call your neighbors. Call your friends,” Garland Mays, president of the Forest Park Neighborhood Council said at the start of the meeting. “Tell them we’re going to address these issues. ... We’re going to address these issues because it’s gone on too long.”

The neighborhood includes Fairview Homes. And some of the discussion was devoted to finding ways to bring more Fairview residents to the neighborhood council meetings.

But a few were at the meeting Monday, including Linda Temple.

Temple said Fairview is “too open. It’s not safe. People just come from the outside, and they blend in.”

Police, however, said it was unlikely that a wall would be built around the housing complex. They said they needed citizens help in solving crimes.

“You can have a thousand people out there,” Det. Carlos Matlock said. “Once we get there, nobody’s out there. Nobody saw anything. That’s the biggest thing – to get people to come forward.

Matlock and other officers emphasized citizens can make reports to police confidentially.

“We have to stand together,” Forest Park resident Henry Martin Jr. said. “You have to make a stand. The police are not going to be there every time. And, by the time police come, Moe, Larry and Curly are gone.”

Capt. Les O’Connor pointed out the law abiding residents have numbers on their side.

“At some point, the reason that a small group of people are able to terrorize a neighborhood is because they know nobody’s going to say anything,” O’Connor said. “You guys greatly outnumber the people who are causing problems. ... At some point, we do need people to step forward and help.”

The two fatal Fairview shootings occurred Aug. 23 and Sept. 13. One arrest has been made. Neither the victims nor the one suspect lived at Fairview.

Lt. Bob Desiderio said there have been 32 violent crimes in Forest Park this year. That compares to 35 in 2014 and 38 in 2013.

“The message to get out to your neighbors is to call. It’s never a bother to call police,” Desiderio said, adding dispatchers can keep the caller’s identity anonymous. “We have to get it out there that these type of incidents will not be tolerated in your community.”

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