Back of the Yards alderman calls for policing reinforcements

- Ald. Ray Lopez is pleading for assistance from Cook County sheriff Tom Dart to help make the 15th Ward safer saying, "Arrests are simply not enough."

Lopez, a first-term alderman, along with a few other community leaders sent a letter to Dart's office in hopes of working with them to create a long-term strategy to clean up violence in his Back of the Yards neighborhood, 

Amid the restructuring of the Chicago Police Department, Lopez wants partnership between Cook County and Back of the Yards neighborhood. Lopez wants the sheriff to assist in deploying resources to the 15th Ward such as gang, narcotics and vice/human trafficking units.

“We are determined to change the culture in Back of the Yards away from one that normalizes violence and gives refuge to gang life. We believe residents should feel safe on their blocks, at their parks and in their schools,” the letter said.

Lopez said in a Facebook post Tuesday night that the effort to strengthen his ward expands beyond policing.

This is the first step in truly addressing the safety concerns previously discussed by residents not only in the Back of the Yards but throughout the 15th Ward. Arrests are simply not enough. I am committed to working with Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, parents and other community stake holders to bring all the resources our city has available to the Ward, including but not limited to family counseling, re-entry programs, summer youth employment & activities, police/community relations and much more. The success we will create will be the basis by which we lift up our communities in the 15th Ward.

There have been three homicides in the Back of the Yards neighborhood this March alone.

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