Recently released crime statistics show that Cicero is continuing to win its war against street gangs and making our neighborhoods safer.
That has always been my priority, since taking office in 2005. As a former Cicero police officer, I know that the key to defeating street gangs is to get the community involved with our police and safety services.
I think we have done that. If the community is involved, then a community can become more successful in countering the many negative influences that street gangs bring, not only in terms of violence, but also in terms of leading our youngest residents astray and away from their families.
Sadly, we continue to see violence in Chicago to our immediate east and north. How is it that crime seems to stop when it comes to our border? It makes no sense until to realize that residents on this side of our border with Chicago are actively engaged in community activities and in the daily lives of their children.
Cicero offers many programs to partner parents with our programs to educate, protect and engage. Our Parent Patrol is just one example: Parents roll up their sleeves and participate in monitoring their children as they go to and from school. Schools are one of the priority targets of the street gangs and gangbangers. They prey on children who are left out in the cold and have no one around them that care.
Well, we care. And that’s why our statistics show a dramatic reduction – not only in street gang crimes – but in general crime, and especially violent crime.
Deputy Police Superintendent Jerry Chlada provided an overview on the number of shootings and homicides at a recent board meeting. The data shows that between 1998 and 2005, there were 418 shootings and 55 homicides in Cicero. In comparison, the numbers between 2006 and 2013, show a dramatic change that is encouraging, showing a total of 162 shootings and 19 total homicides, with only four homicides in the past four years.
I won’t be satisfied until the crime is down to zero, but I know the reality of the real world that we live in. Despite that, I will continue to work to make Cicero and even safer community for each and every family and for every child.
I’ll do that by offering good programs throughout the year that stress education, reading, school and studying, and fun so that children have the chance to enjoy themselves with their families.
The best way to protect our children is to ensure that they remain with their families and in the company of other families in a community that cares. And I can promise you that the town of Cicero cares.
Larry Dominick is the town president of Cicero.