Tackling Crime Head On
For 9 years, Maldonado has held a monthly joint meeting with the District Commanders to prevent crime and catch criminals. For the last 2 years, he has pressed CPD to fill police shortages in 12th & 14th Districts. Economic expansion through massive investments in schools, housing, and transportation will truly end the cycle of violence and restore Chicago's reputation as the "City That Works".
Maldonado united with the surrounding community to shut down a shady businessman who allowed gang members to operate, harassing neighbors. See the full story on WTTW. He has als shut down 4 shady stores at 1300 N. Homan, 1700 N. Kimball, 4300 W.North and 3300 W. Evergreen.
Maldonado called emergency meetings in the ward as a result of an increase in violence in 2016 so the community could talk directly the police. He then enlisted the Cook County Sheriff and the Illinois Department of Corrections to drive down crime.
Maldonado co-sponsored legislation that would have civilians oversee police. Misconduct over the last 10 years has cost Chicagoans $85M more than the Mayor's property tax increase.
Maldonado met with Parents for Peace and Justice in 2016 to help solve the cold case murders of their children.
Maldonado fully supports community marches against violence and urges residents to attend CAPS meetings.
Maldonado is monitoring the upsurge of hate crimes. When a Mia Irizarry was confronted by a racist for wearing a T-shirt with the Puerto Rican flag, he launched a "Wear Your Puerto Rican Shirt" Day to face hatred head on with solidarity and enlightenment.
For the last 9 years, Alderman Maldonado has held monthly meetings withe the District Commanders from the 12th, 14th and 25th Districts to co-ordinate efforts, identify additional needs and be proactive. Maldonado said, "These meetings are essential to preventing crimes instead of just reacting to them."
Starting in 2017, Alderman Maldonado urged First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro to assign more police officers to the 12th and 14th Police Districts. Independent sources report the current combined shortage exceeds 50 police officers in these two districts. Maldonado explained, "Police Commanders' Kulbida (12th) and Saldana (14th) need these men and women to restore peace and quite to the 26th Ward. Despite newly added officers, these districts still suffer shortages."
Maldonado has pressed for "hot spot" policing to drive out gang members. Maldonado reported, "In the wake of several shootings on the 2600 Block of West Hirsch Street in 2016, we used "hot spot" policing to remove gang members from two buildings along with loiterers from the surrounding area. Beat officers were assigned to the area. I called the city to inspect 2643 W. Hirsch, discovering building violations and evidence of criminal activity by tenants. The landlord did not respond so the building was placed on the Troubled Buildings List.
"The CHA building nearby (2633 W. Hirsh) was evacuated for renovation, driving out more gang members. These individuals could not return. Finally, a Bickerdike building around the corner was attracting loiterers. They were removed. With the "hot spot"designation, police could arrest them if they returned within 12 hours. Peace and quite returned to this block."
Converting stash houses into homes. In 2009, Maldonado moved to eliminate abandoned houses in the ward, by taking property owners to housing court and forcing them to repair these houses or tear them down. "Not only are abandoned homes unsafe and unsanitary, criminal gangs may hide there and could stash illegal guns there, " Maldonado explained further. In 2011, some of these abandoned homes went on sale to families making between $38,000-$90,000 thanks to federal funds.
Ridding drinking establishments hiding behind social club charters. When Maldonado became Alderman he started working with CAPS & Police to shut down Members Only Social Club on Division. "Clearly it was just an unlicensed drinking establishment masquerading as a "social club" to evade strict licensing. When a deadly shooting occurred at this Club in 2011, I organized Division Street business leaders, local clergy, community leaders and concerned residents to urge Illinois State Legislators to fix the Social Club Charter so it can't be exploited for nefarious reasons," he explained.Helping to solve cold cases. Cold Case murders need strong cooperation from detectives. But the Parents for Peace felt there was a breakdown in communication between the victims' families and the Chicago detectives assigned to solve their murders. Maldonado met with these parents in 2016 and pleaded their case to then Superintendent John Escalante. He said, "I urged the Superintendent of Police to use his power to re-establish communication between these families and his detectives so the steps to justice could proceed."
Calling Emergency Community Meetings. In April 2016 a spate of violence broke out in the Ward. Maldonado swiftly held a series of emergency community meetings so residents could talk directly to the police. Maldonado stated, "Faith in our police leadership can only be earned through effective, positive outcomes--we don't need police to be indifferent to violence outside our homes or workplaces. These meetings succeeded in building trust and started the process of decreasing crime."
Enlisting County and State help. "As a former Cook County Commissioner, I was deeply familiar with judicial departments," Maldonado explained. "By summer of 2016, I contacted the Cook County Sheriff and the Illinois Department of Corrections to enlist their help in continuing to drive down our crime rates."
"As a result, the Cook County Sheriff's Department has made home visits routine for the last 2 years to all those on electronic monitoring in the Humboldt Park area. They also are tracking down those with outstanding warrants in the Ward. Since 2016, the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections and I address the approximately 150 parolees living in the Humboldt Park area on an annual basis to remind them of their duties and obligations. Any parolee who didn't attend this meeting would have been violating the terms of their parole which would result in being returned to prison."
Electing a Citizen Board to Ensure Police Serve & Protect. Maldonado explains, "When police don't do their job, the taxpayer is on the hook for the damages. Since 2004, the City of Chicago has paid out a staggering sum of $625 million to victims of real and alleged police misconduct. Think about that for a moment. Remember the outrage over the $540 million property tax increase that I voted against? Well, these settlements are $85 million more than that coming out of the pockets of renters and owners alike. If we had common sense reforms in place twenty years ago, much of that $625 million in lawsuits and settlements could have been averted."
Chicago Police must PROTECT law-abiding citizens. In the wake of a series of recent shootings in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, as well as the 1st & 37th Ward, Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th) called for the Chicago Police Department to shift tactics and aggressively implement foot patrols in the community, especially in areas plagued by gang violence. In 2015 he became a Lead Sponsor of the STOP Act. This legislation requires the Chicago Police Department to record all police stops, provide a receipt containing name & badge # of the officers involved to anyone stopped and/or frisked, and to inform everyone of their right to refuse a search. "We need the STOP Act now to ensure fair and equal treatment of all law-abiding residents in Chicago - especially our minority population who are racially profiled and disproportionately stopped & frisked. Police resources must be focused on law-breakers," stated Maldonado.
A new Police Academy won't end the cycle of violence--only a Marshall Plan for Chicago will. After WWII, the U.S. spent $13B in 4 years across 17 European countries to quell further violence, end poverty, and house the homeless stuck in camps. These economies grew an astounding 15%-25% during each of these 4 years. The Marshall Plan is credited for ending the cycle of violence that had plagued Europe for over 50 years. Maldonado explained, "A Marshall Plan will rebuild our schools, housing, and transportation. As in Europe, it will expand businesses and construction, along with creating good jobs. This is the only way we can end the cycle of violence and restore Chicago's reputation as the "City That Works."
What YOU Can Do About Crime in Your Neighborhood
Alert, Involved Neighbors Create Well-Tended Streets that Repel Criminals and Loiterers.
Establish a phone or a text tree
A phone tree can provide a means for neighbors to first call 911 to request the police when a crime occurs and to then communicate among themselves. A phone/text tree lists residents according to their address and can be a rapid communication and reporting system for the block club.
Block parties are a Chicago tradition throughout the summer, but you don't have to confine your celebrations to just one day. Smaller events can be easily organized throughout the year.
Attend Police Beat meetings (CAPS) with your neighbors
Beat community meetings provide an opportunity for police and community residents to exchange information about conditions in the neighborhood, to identify crime and disorder problems, and discuss chronic problems. The meeting also provides an opportunity for police and community to get to know one another.
Find the Police District and Beat you live in.
Then find your Police Beat meeting (CAPS) below.
The 26th Ward has 4 police districts. They are Harrison (11th), Near West (12th), Shakespeare (14th) and Grand Central (25th). CAPS meetings are listed on the district's calendar of events.
Is Your Street Looking Attractive to Criminals?
Criminals, gangs and loiterers roost among run-down streets and alleys strewn with trash. Abandoned buildings signal good shelter for their criminal activities. These physical characteristics also send strong signals that neighbors don't know each other and probably won't call the police when they see suspicious activity.
Work on problem buildings
One bad building can ruin a whole block; one bad store can ruin a whole neighborhood, but you and your neighbors can help make a real difference when it comes to problem buildings. By working with police and other City Departments, you can help hold landlords or store owners accountable for criminal or nuisance activity that may be occurring on their property.
Organize a neighborhood clean-up
Criminals are attracted to neighborhoods that appear dirty or unkempt. Regular clean-ups will deter criminal activity by bringing people out and visible on the street. The City, through the Clean and Green program, can loan anyone tools throughout the year to help you keep your block looking good. Just call 311 and ask for Clean & Green or use this 311 form. You can also use this as a way to meet all the neighbors on your block and get them involved.
Organize an alley numbering project
Alley numbers help speed response from police, fire and paramedics who under certain circumstances may need to respond through the alley. Alley numbers may be provided to groups by your local police district through a grant provided by the Allstate Foundation.
Ald. Maldonado's Position on "De-funding the Police"
(JUNE 10, 2020)--Simply put, I will always speak openly of what I want funded—not what I don't.
In March of 2019, I voted "NO" on funding for a new police academy, saying what I wanted funded with these words: "the City needs to get its funding priorities in order. Instead of constructing a brand new police academy, the City of Chicago should make massive investments in our schools, mental health, violence prevention and job training programs on the west and south sides." I urge the $33 million currently funded for police in our public schools to instead be funding teacher and school resources and applaud the Chicago Teachers Union for their efforts to make this happen.