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Enough is Enough: Time to Get Serious About Crime in Skokie

Enough is Enough: It's time to get serious about crime in Skokie. We need leaders who will admit there's a problem and address the issue.

First, let me express my concern for the Skokie woman who was attacked while unpacking her groceries at her home and hope that she finds her way toward a successful and speedy recovery.

For more than three years, since I was a Skokie Village commissioner, I have been attempting to dialogue with village officials on crime. First as an individual, and then through the work of Skokie Voice. In June 2010,  Skokie Voice organized a town hall meeting where more than 500 people attended. Many spoke to their concerns about crime. Even this public expression of concern seems to have made no impact on the dismissive attitude of village officials. This is one of the reasons why I am running for Village Trustee in April.

After the 2009 National Citizen Survey results were released, the village officials said that residents were satisfied with Skokie, ignoring the comments where a substantial amount of respondents stated that they did not feel safe walking in their neighborhoods. The 2012 National Citizen Survey results just released, indicate an increase in the number of residents who don't feel safe walking in their neighborhoods.

Despite specific data, indicating that certain types of crime have significantly increased, village officials continue to maintain that "overall" crime is down. The Village officials maintain that there is no real crime problem in Skokie. Attacks, like the latest one which took place at noon, in broad daylight not far from the business district on West Dempster Street, are typically described as isolated incidents and crimes of opportunity.

Village officials have also publicly stated that increased crime is only "the perception of some." Recent violence, along with my neighbors front windows being shot through with bullet holes is clearly more than "the perception of some.

Done; Enough; Fini. We need to show the thugs in Skokie and those who find Skokie an easy target to attack, that we are not the "Wild West" and we aren't going to take it anymore.

We have to build a reputation in Skokie where criminals know – you don't do it here. I worked with prisoners in Arizona. When I would ask the inmates why they did what they did, I was told "because we can." I want to work to make Skokie a place where they can't! I want to make it so the criminals know there's a new game in town – where the outcome is: we win, they lose.

I have spent considerable time over the last few years trying to work with village officials to make Skokie a safer community. But, they refuse to make crime a priority or even acknowledge the problem; to the victims of crime it is not a "perception." 

I've been honored to call Skokie home for over 22 years. My husband and I have raised our children here, in the house he grew up in since 1960. The foundation of our family is rooted in Skokie. I appreciate all of the unique characteristics and the shared values of our community. That's why I care about what happens in our village; why I feel so deeply about issues that have to be addressed, and why I want to serve the people of Skokie.

As a Skokie Trustee, I'll make reducing crime a priority, and work with residents and officials to find ways to make Skokie the safe community that many of us remember. 

For more information: www.lipinfortrustee.com

 

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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Tobin January 28, 2013 at 12:18 PM
What are the statistics on crimes of violence in Skokie? By violence I would include not only assault and battery, rape and murder, but any crime of intimidation, home invasion, or threats to well being in general. What percentage of these crimes have been solved. Are there any patterns found among the perpetrators of these crimes: economic class; race; ethnicity; etc.? Are the offenders residents of Skokie? What changes in police enforcement have been made to address this problem? As a senior Skokie resident. I'm very concerned. John Tobin
shp January 28, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Yes, most of the violent crimes are by people who live in Skokie. Ask the police department about these statistics. I consider any threat of a crime a "violent crime", but I don't believe the police count it as such. After all, it is how one looks at crime numbers and the numbers can be manipulated. Percentages are very confusing. Lisa Lipin has stated the facts above and anyone can go to the Skokie Village website to look at the annual survey. The Village received 360 surveys out of 66000 people living in Skokie. To me, that is not a clear picture of how people feel. Who gets these surveys anyway? I have lived in Skokie for 16 years and I have never seen such a survey. Also go to the Skokie Police website and look at the latest annual report (the crime stats are there). Vote for independent candidates in April. It is time for a new vision in Skokie not more of the same!
Jon Schneider January 28, 2013 at 02:54 PM
What is ms. Lipin's plan to reduce crime? What, beside anecdotes has indicated an increase in crime?
Troy January 28, 2013 at 04:11 PM
I'd love to know what Lipin intends to do to curtail crime.
Skokie Mike January 28, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Well for starters she's *addressing* it. Anyone that has live here for 10, 15 or 20 years knows crime in Skokie is getting worse. The caucus party is in la la land. They deny anything. In fact, they claim everyone in skokie is happy after surveying 352 people out of a population of 65K! Lisa Lipin will change the status quo of the Caucus Party. Who have been in power for more than 50 years! Sounds like it is time for a change and that time is now! Let's take back SKokie!
Bruce Brigell January 28, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Here are numbers for Skokie from the latest Uniform Crime Report from the FBI [2011] Murder & non-negligent manslaughter - 2 Rape - 13 Robbery - 39 Aggravated Assault - 87 Total 141 Per-capita 0.0022 For some other neighboring towns Murder Rape Robbery Assault Total Per-capita Evanston 3 4 76 95 178 0.0024 Morton Grove 0 2 4 19 25 0.0011 Niles 0 0 9 13 22 0.0007 Lincolnwood 0 0 6 1 7 0.0006 Chicago suburbs closest to Skokie in per-capita rate of violent crime are Evanston, Berwyn, South Holland, Bolingbrook, Melrose Park and Freeport. Information from http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/standard-links/city-agency Bruce Brigell, Skokie Public Library
V.S. January 28, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Thank you, Skokie Mike. You've said it all.
Nancy Murphy January 28, 2013 at 06:38 PM
For one thing, thanks to the one law that Barack Obama passed as a State legislator, police now have to tally the race of each person that they stop to ensure that they are not "racially profiling." Now they are reluctant to stop or monitor "people of color" for fear that they will appear to be profiling, which would hamper their career advancement with Skokie's PC village administration. So all you Skokie Obama voters, you've brought this on yourselves.
Nancy Murphy January 28, 2013 at 06:45 PM
The last time the Caucus party had a serious electoral challenge was 2001. It became painfully apparent then, that the Caucus party was a wholly owned subsidary of the Chicago Democratic Machine. They outspent their opponents $300k to $30k (10 to 1) with much of the cash coming from contractors who do business with the village and from building developers in need of favorable zoning. The Caucus Party imported ward heelers from the City of Chicago to work the precincts - many of them from the building trade unions - and had the full backing of Calvin Sutker's local Dem. ward heelers. When you buy a home in Skokie, you really should be advised that you are actually not moving to a suburb but rather into the 51st Ward of Chicago.
Mary January 28, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Skokie Mike said is right! Lisa is addressing it! Let's help her!!!!!!
Michael Patrick January 28, 2013 at 08:19 PM
The little known fact is that police staffing since 2009 has been reduced through frozen and eliminated positions. Candidates that speak of the long term costs of additional Officers fail to mention savings already accrued and seem to be unaware of the recent reduction in force. The time to act is now. Budget hearings for the next fiscal year will be held AFTER the elections. Attend a Board meeting now and insist that the Mayor and Board members make a public commitment now to the reinstatement of all cancelled positions.
Skokie1 January 28, 2013 at 09:19 PM
I would also like to hear what Lisa Lipin proposes to solve the crime issue. While I agree that it is good that she is not ignoring the issue, and looking to solve it, some of the solutions of Skokie Voice have been short sighted. I am talking specifically about their support of the multifamily licensing proposal. Skokie Voice has failed to see the complexity of the issue, and furthermore has refused to dialog with the multifamily operators to get a better idea of the situation at hand.
Michael Patrick January 28, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Skokie Voice may indeed have been shortsighted. Lacking, though, are any serious counterproposals from the Village. They are unwilling to acknowledge that perhaps resident's perception of crime merits some discussion. Much as armed robbery can be charged when a toy gun is used (if the victim believes it to be a real gun the law acknowledges the victim's perception), the Village needs to acknowledge and address the perceptions of the residents. Rather than continuing the endless "yes it is!""no it's not" argument that substitutes for dialogue these days, the Village needs to set aside their "we're right, you're wrong, crime is actually down" mentality and begin a discussion of what can be done to combat both crime and the resident's perception of crime.
Skokie1 January 29, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Yes Michael, an open dialog and discussion of the issue is the solution, and hopefully Lisa can continue to push the village in that direction. I also like the idea of a new face that is not aligned with the dead wood that is our current village government.
Jon Schneider January 29, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Which part of this article is inaccurate: http://skokie.suntimes.com/news/11227610-418/police-annual-report-confirms-crime-decline.html Why do you feel the Village is turning a blind eye when the statistics tell them crime is going down? Do you also think that climate change is a myth? Statistics are important. Anecdotes are anecdotes that fail to give a broad, balanced picture. Let's not panic over random incidents. Every community has some crime and clearly we would like to have less than we do, but to say say that we need to "take Skokie back" or that crime has become rampant is just plain inaccurate.
Steve Mottel January 29, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Jon, I have been here since the late 60s as a resident and a landlord. You are wrong in your assessment. Anyone can produce/cite a study to support their claims. Thing have been going in the wrong direction and starting with some new, non-caucus party voices would be a good start.
Jon Schneider January 29, 2013 at 09:28 PM
you say I am wrong but you produce zero evidence. You say anyone can produce or cite a study, but you cannot even do that. The truth is anyone can claim things seem worse. And I'm sure you think they are and seem self-evident to you, but that does not make it so. Crime has been around forever, even in Skokie. If you think Skokie was crime-free in the 60's and 70's, you are wrong. If you are so sure that it is worse now, show me some proof. Compare Skokie to neighboring suburbs over time. How does crime here compare to 10 years ago, 20 years ago, etc? and how does it compare to Morton Grove, Evanston, Wilmette, Glenview, Niles, Des Plaines over the same time frame? Perhaps crime is going up. I haven't seen evidence that that is the case. I am new to Skokie though. I've only been here 17 years.
Ann Gersh January 29, 2013 at 11:50 PM
You called it Mike, time to get rid of the party that is in denial and thinks this is 1970. They are the problem in skokie not the solution
Ann Gersh January 29, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Sounds like you have a multi unit building. If you own a building you need to be accountable. It a business and why should you not have to pay fees just like any other business owner.
Michael Patrick January 30, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Responding to Ann Gersh: I don't own a multi-family dwelling. I'm sorry that I gave the impression that I am opposed to such an ordinance. I do support the regulation of multi-family dwellings. However, because I am unfamiliar with the specifics of the ordinance as proposed, I simply acknowledged that Skokie Voice might have been shortsighted. I'm sorry for my lack of clarity.
Skokie1 January 31, 2013 at 04:22 AM
Ann, can you be more specific as to what a multi-unit owner should be responsible for? We are currently required to keep our properties in good safe condition, and are inspected every 1 1/2 years by the city. We are regulated by the federal and state government as far as the kind of people we can take as tenants, and the broad majority of multi-units I see are well managed. We also have a lot at stake for increasing crime, and degradation of neighborhoods. So when there is a bad landlord, or a federally subsidized housing project in Skokie that is not responsible in making sure their tenants are law abiding, we are concerned. Finally, the multifamily regulatory proposal that Skokie Voice supports does not address the above issues, which are the main problem in my opinion. I am not saying that the multifamily regulation proposal is all bad, but I was disappointed that Skokie Voice was not more open minded in considering other ideas; especially from people who operate in the neighborhoods they are seeking to regulate.

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