Jewish neighborhood in Chicago hires off-duty cops to protect against anti-Semitic attacks: Chicago cops criticize it
It’s come to this. Not only in Paris and Malmo, but right here in the United States of America, Orthodox Jewish communities feel besieged and are paying for security forces that the police cannot or will not provide. And the police (those not getting the after hours pay) are unhappy. Benjamin Woodard of DNAinfo reports:
After a series of attacks and anti-Semitic threats, Jewish families in West Rogers Park have lined up their own security force of off-duty Chicago police officers to patrol the neighborhood.
But the neighborhood's top police officers are unhappy about the move, saying they don't want residents to get a false sense of security.
The armed officers set up outside Jewish institutions and use personal cars to drive through a 16-block chunk of West Rogers Park during the weekly Sabbath and holidays when the Orthodox community members typically don't carry phones or drive.
Resident David Kamish, 41, organized the patrols and collects $25 a month from more than 25 families to pay the officers. The project's budget is currently $800 a month and goes exclusively to pay off-duty officers assigned to the Rogers Park Police District, he said.
The perceived threats are more than imaginary:
On April 19, two people were robbed at gunpoint about 1:40 a.m. in the 3000 block of West Jerome Avenue, he said. The couple was walking from a nearby party when a black SUV pulled up and a man with a gun demanded their belongings.
The incident is under investigation, Sisk said.
On April 27, a synagogue on Morse Avenue and the Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center on Touhy Avenue — where the Tuesday meeting was held — received suspicious letters filled with baking soda, according to Sisk.
Three other Jewish organizations in the suburbs also received letters, and the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were investigating, he said.
"Luckily it was a hoax, but what it did do was invoke a sense of fear, and that's what they’re trying to do," Sisk said. "And then that fear can overcome you like a tidal wave — we don’t want to see fear overcome this community."
Glatz said those letters contained notes with Arabic writing and an image of what appeared to be an Islamic radical fighter.
But Chicago cops are unhappy:
District Cmdr. Roberto Nieves hosted a special CAPS meeting with Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) Tuesday night to address the patrols, which began two weeks ago.
"It was brought to our attention there was a group of citizens in the area that don't feel the police are serving the community the best we can," said Sgt. Shawn Sisk, who leads the district's community policing office. "We can't stop that from happening; however, we're not going to support it. We don’t want that to send a false sense of security to the neighborhood."
Somehow, I doubt that a false sense of security is at risk. Orthodox Jews feel particularly vulnerable during Sabbath observances because their religion forbids them the use of any device, including cell phones, so they would be unable to call police in the event of attacks. West Rogers Park Jews are not about to sit idl by and play the role of victims. Good for them.