Old Town Residents Share Violence Concerns During Anti-Crime Walk

Some neighbors told NBC 5 that they're considering hiring their own private security to patrol the neighborhood

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Residents of Chicago's Old Town neighborhood participated in an anti-crime walk Friday evening during which they expressed concerns about violence in the city and heard from law enforcement.

From shootings to robberies, violent crime has risen this year in the 18th Police District, which includes the Near North neighborhood, Old Town, River North and several other communities, data has showed.

Jeffrey Peters, who has lived in Old Town for decades, said his home was broken into two weeks ago.

Peters said burglars ransacked his place and even tried to set his dog on fire.

"You feel violated, so its really upsetting, but you can be upset or you can be upset and use that to try to identify solutions," he said.

Neighbors told NBC 5 they've shared their concerns with police and are now considering hiring their own private security to patrol the neighborhood and pitch in to pay for more police cameras.

"I’m not sure everybody wants to do it, but if that what it takes then lets do it," Dorothy DeCarlo, president of the Old Town Triangle Association. "What we need to do, what we need to do is whatever it takes to make it a safer neighborhood. All neighborhoods should be like that."

The local alderman, Michele Smith, is spearheading a fundraising drive for police cameras in the ward, which also includes parts of Lincoln Park and Gold Coast.

To combat a rise in crime, Smith, who represents the 43rd Ward, sent out an email to residents last week announcing the ‘OEMC Camera Program.’ She said residents have expressed interest in donating to help pay for more police cameras, and the new program will allow them to do that.

The installations would cost about $25,000 and the location must be approved by police, according to officials.

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