Does Forest Park have problems with gangs?

On Thursday August 25th Citizens United for Forest Park and the Forest Park Police Department will consider that issue and put on a workshop on gangs at 7 p.m. at the Forest Park Middle School cafetorium.

Patrolman Michael O’Connor will be the main speaker, according to Kathryn Moran who is organizing the workshop.

One of the goals of the workshop will be to help parents identify when teenagers are just being teenagers and when to be concerned, said Moran who is the parent of two boys, ages 20 and 16.

“My husband and I felt that we were seeing some behavior on the street that we weren’t comfortable with. I don’t want to create a problem that doesn’t exist, but I don’t want to bury my head in the sand either,” said Moran.

Last summer a young man from Berwyn, Roberto Munoz, was murdered in

Forest Park in what police believe was a gang killing, according to Detective Scott Frey, who is also expected to speak in the workshop. The killing remains unsolved.

Frey said that gang activity is not rampant in Forest Park, but it does exist.

“I’d say it is relatively average,” said Frey. “Not a lot, but enough to be aware of.”

The Forest Park police department has begun to create a gang unit and two officers, O’Connor and Ken Gross, have gone through specialized training to recognize and combat gangs according to Frey.

Frey believes that at least four highly organized gangs, Black Gangster Disciples, the Peacestones, the Conservative Vice Lords and the Four Corner Hustlers, are active in Forest Park.

Forest Park has changed in the 20 years that she has lived here, said Moran.

“(Before), kids knew they couldn’t get too far out of line because people would call their parents.”