It’s not very surprising that crime appears to center around the CTA stations in Forest Park. For the most part, the railways provide a quick route for criminals to slip into a crowd and head down the portal to the city, or pop off at any other stop along the way, for that matter. (Though in cases of theft from say, CVS, which happens pretty frequently, according to the police, a delayed train can leave the criminal foolishly standing on the platform trying to hold all of the items he or she just stole. It’s hard to imagine that sight doesn’t make the officers on duty laugh just a little. “A southbound train toward the Loop will be arriving shortly.”) What’s more, with two out of the three Forest Park el stations positioned at the end of the lines, we are told by police that this causes even more crime. Graffiti on the parked train cars. Robbery at the stalled taxi cabs. Again, not too surprising.
What is surprising is that the Forest Park police department and CTA security don’t seem to have a solid, working relationship together. Police detectives had no idea that the CTA had recently installed security cameras at each one of the Forest Park stations. That kind of insider footage seems like it would be quite helpful for a detective unit to solve a murder, perhaps. But even for other types of cases, any tools that could provide assistance in identifying criminals would not only help the village fight crime, but it would save time and resources for the police department. As of now there doesn’t seem to be any communication and officers don’t know the important details of how the cameras function. Somebody needs to find out. And somebody needs to bridge the gap between the two security forces. Working together and utilizing the resources from both groups will only make for a safer community, both on and off the el platforms.
Keep the dialogue open
For a 2,000-year-old institution such as the Catholic Church, we realize that change will be slow. But when dialogue is completely cut off on a particular topic, as it is with women’s ordination in the Catholic Church, that scares us. That’s why it was at least heartening to know that the Rev. George Velloorattil of St. Bernardine’s parish was willing to sit down and have a chat with the Review. Not many priests would be willing to talk to the media right now, regardless of the conversation topic. But for any topic, whether it is religion, politics or even the Bears season, we strongly encourage and embrace an open dialogue among the community. Through discussion and debate and exposure to other people’s viewpoints, that is how we can grow. So, though some may find it only a small step, thanks for the chat, Father George.