I am pleased to present my overall rationale for locating a police outpost at the Dominick’s Food Store in the Dempster/Dodge shopping center and to address residents’ expressed areas of concern regarding it. Goals of the outpost are to deter juvenile liquor thefts and to provide a site conducive to informal and positive contacts between police and community.
A minor apprehended for theft of liquor finds himself thrust into Cook County’s juvenile criminal-justice system, a system characterized by one of the highest recidivism rates in the nation. Each shoplifting success increases the juvenile’s risk of engaging in behaviors such as drunkenness, criminal damage, criminal sexual assault, batteries and aggravated batteries – an exorbitant price to pay for youthful poor decisions. Cumulatively the young offender’s anti-social activities fray the entire social fabric, taking a severe toll upon him, his victims, the community. Surely it is prudent to prevent these events by employing every practicable police resource/strategy available.
In my opinion, the Dominick’s outpost is just such a practicable resource/strategy. It acts as a deterrent—the optimal method, I believe, of keeping juveniles out of the criminal-justice system – and it is readily-implemented, based on the excellent rapport and cooperation existing between Dominick’s management and the police department.
Some community members have articulated the concern that Dominick’s may not be sufficiently proactive in apprehending offenders, given the outpost’s focus on crime prevention among juveniles. I can attest, however, that the store is enhancing its video security through the use of digital recordings and by remotely monitoring the system set up for identification and apprehension of offenders.
As to concerns regarding cost, know that Dominick’s totally funded the outpost’s construction. Further, officers are not additionally assigned to the outpost. Instead they are officers on regular tour-of-duty who utilize it to write a report or make a phone call. An intangible but valuable benefit of on-duty officers getting out of their cars to become accessible to shoppers at Dominick’s and in the plaza is that they provide a non-crisis police presence in the neighborhood.
I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Evanston by reducing crime through prevention in a cost-effective, proactive manner that keeps the maximum possible number of youths out of the criminal justice system.
Please feel free to contact me with your comments. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-866-5005.