By ANNE LUNDE
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rosemont may be relatively small, geographically, but it has a number of different neighborhoods with their own personalities and challenges. That’s why Chief Donald Stephens III and the Rosemont Public Safety Department are hosting regular community workshops at the Barry Recreation Center in the northwest corner of Rosemont.
The “courts” is a neighborhood of apartments and alleys of parking lots, isolated on the south by the Allstate Arena, on the east by an extended shopping center including Target, some small shops and clusters of eateries, which replaced an older industrial area. Residents are in a different township (Maine), different grade schools and Maine West High School, and many speak Spanish more comfortably than English.
The rec center, a relatively recent addition, provides a home base where children can feel safe, where parents can take English as a Second Language, and where they all can meet and communicate with local government officials. Murals surrounding the building feature sports and musicians, a cultural corner.
At the Thursday, March 30 meeting, Stephens and a half-dozen officers, community officers and supervisors mingled and asked questions with the help of interpreters, ranging from park staff to the school age children who came with parents.
The officers share recent reported statistics, in this case two months since Jan. 1: nine domestic incidents, one suspicious person, 11 parking complaints, and three noise complaints. Weather has been mild, and these are relatively low.
Several residents said their buildings have assigned parking spaces, but others were disregarding that. Stephens said it isn’t legal to place buckets or cones or chairs to “save” a parking space.
Neighbors said they were relieved that police have a car following the school bus as added backup. There are concerns when the young teens see people they don’t know. Stephens said it would really help police to get a description of those individuals, height, clothing, ethnicity, vehicles, etc.
If unfamiliar vehicles or unknown individuals start hanging out in quiet corners or returning, especially as the weather gets nicer, police would like to know.
Being so close to major roadways, Rosemont occasionally becomes a place where travelers wander into the edges of the village. The apartment area also acquires drivers who go too fast for the narrow streets; police would like calls to 9-1-1 with descriptions of vehicles or offenders as soon as possible, with the goal of catching the drivers before people get hurt.
Officers passed out sheets of numbers to call in the village when they have questions or problems. Residents asked for some of their schools to be added to the phone list. These are productive meetings in both directions.
The officers shared a few safety tips: lock your vehicles and keep valuables out of sight; be sure children lock their bikes and wear proper helmets when riding.
They listed events coming up this season at park facilities at Lange Park, Dunne Park and Barry.
Stephens told about the March graduation of 36 new auxiliary officers, and various promotions. Two more auxiliary training courses are planned for this year, one starting in April. He encouraged the audience members to consider applying for the courses, as the department would like to expand its bilingual members.