Officer Jason Sollis leads the CAPS Beat 912 meeting on Wednesday, April 22, in an online video chat due to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic.

CAPS Beat 912 Moves Online to Share Crime Updates, Street Racer Plans

Published April 27, 2020

The meeting for Beat 912 of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) moved online to a Zoom-powered forum on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, to accommodate safe social distancing during the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. Chicago Police Department Officer Jason Sollis hosted the online meeting, which included several community stakeholders and guest representatives from other CAPS beats.

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Sollis noted that outreach for Beat 912's April meeting was limited due to the quickness with which the pandemic stymied face-to-face community meetings and security concerns tied to meeting online.

"We were part of another meeting that ended up getting hacked," he said. "I wanted to try to set this meeting up as secure as I could."

Neighborhood Crime Statistics

During the online meeting, Sollis shared crime updates for the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago for the period of March 11 to April 22. During this time, the 9th District received 1,264 calls for service in Beat 912, recorded 23 reports of shots fired and conducted three arrests.

Reported crime included five aggravated assaults, one robbery, three burglaries and eight motor vehicle thefts, which Sollis described as "quite a few" for this period, based on Beat 912's averages of four or five auto thefts per month.

The robbery took place at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, in the vicinity of West 36th Street and South Archer Avenue, Sollis said. Four offenders — including an African-American male and an Asian male — demanded money from a pedestrian.

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"When the victim refused, he was stabbed in the lower back," Sollis said. The victim took himself to Mercy Hospital and was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Sollis said, also noting that there have been other recent occurrences of crime in that area, including complaints for disorderly conduct and public drinking. 

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During the reported period, burglaries took place in the 3300 block of South Justine Street, the 3400 block of South Wolcott Avenue and the 3600 block of South Wood Street, Sollis said. 

McKinley Park Street Racers

Sollis also responded to questioning about the status of the gatherings of drivers — including young people and street racing enthusiasts — who have regularly congregated in the parking lots of the Rivers Edge Plaza shopping center, including the 24-hour White Castle restaurant at 3205 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago.

As stated at both the February and March 2020 meetings of CAPS Beat 912, additional 9th District resources have been dedicated to patrolling the parking lots and shooing off the drivers who gather there. However, Sollis noted that police presence and ticketing has not discouraged the mostly younger crowd from returning.

As stated at the April and past CAPS meetings for Beat 912, no significant incidents of violent or property crime have been recorded in this area, despite the occasional large gatherings of people and their cars there.

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Sollis noted how he recently became aware of an episode in a documentary series highlighting these street racers: Documentarians Harris Dirnberger and Chris Parr have produced "Chicago's Underground Street Racing Community" in the first season of their new series Off the Cuf, and they prominently feature this McKinley Park neighborhood location as a gathering point for the Chicago street racing community. 

Beginning 7 minutes, 5 seconds in, street racers gather in the McKinley Park neighborhood in an episode of the Off the Cuf documentary series.

Sollis said he plans to investigate opportunities for outreach to the participants and organizers connected to the street racing gathering spot to see if interest could be directed toward safe and legal activities instead.

CAPS Beat 912 Online

Sollis announced that CAPS Beat 912 will plan to meet on Wednesday, May 13, again in an online forum due to social distancing requirements. "I don't foresee us meeting physically at this time," he said.

Information about the online meeting will be shared with the community — including here on the McKinley Park News — as its production is formalized. "We're just starting into this: connecting with people virtually," Sollis said. "We need to find ways to meet with people remotely."

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