River Forest police played host several local law enforcement agencies on Dec. 7 for a discussion about how best to combat and collaborate on the increased number of carjackings and gun-related violent crimes occurring on the West Side of Chicago and nearby suburbs. 

“The sharing of resources and partnering with our fellow law enforcement agencies will give us the ability to make best use of effective strategies to manage short-term and long-term investigations,” River Forest deputy chief James O’Shea said in a statement. “It will also give us the ability to quickly identify and arrest violent offenders for in-progress or recently committed crimes.” 

Representatives attended included the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Illinois State Police, Chicago Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Cicero Police Department, Berwyn Police Department, Forest Park Police Department, Oak Park Police Department and River Forest Police Department. Officials worked in a variety of capacities in each department, including adult, juvenile and gun crimes. 

The goal of the meeting was to bring together police executives, investigators and prosecutors to share information and develop strategies that will lead to arrests and successful prosecutions of repeat violent offenders. Review and analysis of recent vehicle hijackings, robberies, homicides and other violent crimes has found that some of the same criminal organizations and their affiliates are responsible for multiple crimes. 

The meeting also focused on how to use new technologies, evidence protocols and enhanced communication to combat violent crimes. The group will continue to meet on a monthly basis and some of the strategies discussed will be unified within the West Suburban Enhanced Drug/ Gang Enforcement taskforce. 

“The residents of our area communities deserve the right to be safe and not be victims of violent crimes,” O’Shea said in a statement. 

­— Nona Tepper