CPD has secret crime-busting plan for 75th/79th corridors

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SAWYER,_TATE_BETTER_button(left to right) Ald.-Elect Roderick Sawyer, Keith O. Tate, President, Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, Nicolas B. Taylor , funeral director, Taylor funeral Home, Ltd., Father Bob Miller, St. Dorothy’s Catholic Church, and Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson, Sub-Area 6 Vice President, Chatham Avalon Park Community Council.


By Chinta Strausberg

Sixth District Cmdr. Eddie T. Johnson was late arriving for the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council’s (CAPCC) anti-crime meeting recently held at Hard Time Josephine’s Restaurant because ironically he was dispatched to two nearby shootings including a fatality.

But, when Cmdr. Johnson did arrive at the meeting held at 436 E. 79th Street, he attentively listened to the Council’s complaints about a spike in shootings in the area and drug-related crimes then laid out his aggressive and expansive anti-violence plan that included supporting a pastoral peace initiative.

The pastors in the Chatham/Avalon area have planned a May 1, 2011, 3 p.m. “Peace for Peace Sake” prayer vigil being held at the Nat King Cole Park, 84th and King Drive.

According to St. Dorothy’s Father Bob Miller and CAPCC’s Sub-Area 6 Vice President Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson, churches located in the Chatham/Avalon communities will be participating in this prayer vigil.

While CAPCC’s President Keith O. Tate, his members and Cmdr. Johnson asked that I not reveal his anti-crime plan, Johnson did go on record saying, “I want to put personnel that do nothing but go up and down the 79th and 75th Street business corridor to give business owners and their customers relief” from a recent rash of crime. He wants to make both feel safe and comfortable on these business strips that have seen a rise in shootings and related crimes.

“Most of the crime in this area is driven by narcotics,” Johnson said referring specifically to cocaine, heroin and marijuana. When asked the ages of these alleged drug dealers, Johnson said they range from 14-years old to about 30.

He blamed the drug activity for the recent spike in shootings and blames the cause behind this criminal behavior on “kids who have low parental supervision…. They are experiencing a lack of positive role models in their lives.”

As proof of his theory, Johnson said he would go to the (Police Department’s) processing room and ask youth when was the last time they had talked to their father. “They would say they did not know their father or he was in jail.

“These absent male role models are problems because these kids will find a substitute role model in the streets…surrogate parents,” he said warning that these gangbangers will steer youth down the wrong path in life under the guise of showing them tough love.

Johnson warned parents if they don’t show their children love, “the gangbangers will” and the price will be painful, lengthy and sometimes forever.

In embracing the “Peace for Peace Sake” project, Father Miller and Rev. Dr. Robertson said they believe in the power of prayer and that collectively they plan to “take back our community.”

They are working with 12 churches where every Saturday, they will go to the hot spots and pray.  “We are declaring peace for this summer,” said Robertson. “Without unity, there is no community. We must come together as one.”

The ministers are also reaching out to the Precious Blood Church on the West Side where the pastor has a peace plan that places youth in a circle and encourages lengthy and meaningful dialogue. Miller and Robertson said this peace initiative is very effective in stemming crime. “It allows youth to discuss their issues and problems in an open form. It’s called ‘Peace Circles.”

It entails is a four-day training period the pastors say is an excellent investment in reducing the violence. Anxious for May 1st to arrive, Robertson said, “We plan to pack the park for peace sake.”

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.

 Photo: Chinta Strausberg

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