(The Center Square) – Fulton Market Association Executive Director Roger Romanelli is pushing residents across Chicago to take a stand against crime in the name of preserving the city.
“As someone who has been practicing urban planning with nonprofit groups for 33 years working directly at the grassroots level, I am deeply concerned we are losing our city of Chicago as we know it today and as we’ve known it over the past 50 years,” Romanelli told The Center Square as crime rates in several areas continue to grow across the city. “We appear to have the mayor and alderman running and hiding from the crime issue as opposed to addressing it head own.”
Romanelli’s answer to putting an end to mayhem starts with authorities installing 100 modern police cameras in all 25 city police districts, starting with the Garfield Park neighborhood on the west side where the Fulton Market Association has residences and businesses as part of its group and Tax Increment Financing funds would be used to cover the cost of the cameras.
With the Chicago Police Department known to be at least 1,500 officers short of full staff, Romanelli argues the time for citizens to take action is now.
“Every weekend or every other night, rashes of armed robberies are happening all throughout our city,” he added. “I’ve worked 33 years in urban planning in Chicago and we’ve never seen this type of repetitive, constant, multiple armed robberies happening every night, every other night and definitely on the weekends. Furthermore, we’re still seeing unacceptable violence and the death of innocent people, especially on the south side and west sides.”
Romanelli says security cameras have long played a critical role in keeping neighborhoods safe, adding now having more of them in service strikes him as a no-brainer.
“I know personally at 33 years of experience I have seen cameras, almost always private cameras, help to identify and apprehend criminals rather they’ve been muggers, possible rapists, possible kidnappers, people committing vehicle crimes or property crimes, cameras have been used effectively in Chicago to identify, apprehend and prosecute,” he added. “We know that Chicago doesn’t have anywhere close to enough cameras because many of the crimes that have been caught on cameras have only been caught by private cameras. We believe that the absolute urgency to stop the crime wave that’s going through Chicago is to get 100 more cameras in every police district.”
Romanelli adds for any plan to have a real chance of working more residents have to become involved.
“We are mobilizing more voters in Garfield Park so they can step up and advocate for this,” he said. “We’re going to continue to participate in these beat meetings… What we’re trying to do is use 21st century technology to get hundreds of people to participate and get these people to stand up for cameras and advocate for themselves. What we have to do is reenergize community policing where the police are listening to the residents.”