Oak Park police officials say robberies are up 46 percent from last year. They want to initiate a whistle-stop program as early as next week by asking residents to carry a whistle that they will be able to obtain from the police department and use when they believe they are going to be robbed or if they witness a robbery taking place.
Oak Park police officials say that robberies are up 46 percent from last year. They want to initiate a whistle stop program as early as next year by asking residents to carry whistles they will be able to obtain from the police department and use when they believe they are going to be robbed or witness a robbery taking place.
"People feel more comfortable with them. Why not let them carry them?" said one resident.
"It worked in Hyde Park pretty well, and it would be a good idea," said another resident.
Commander Keenan Williams says they want people to use the whistle and alert the community that something is going on. Commander Williams says this is only a small tool. But it can be an important tool in fighting crime. And all it takes is blowing the whistle.
"If a device is readily at hand that they might alert the neighborhood that something is going on, all the better," Williams said.
The commander says the whistle blowing program was used in the village in the 1980s and it worked.
"It's a way and a means for people who are accosted on the street, alert people nearby that there's some problem, that there's something going on," Williams said.
In addition to the whistle, the police department intends to educate the public on what to do and how to be aware of their surroundings. They say robbery is a crime of opportunity.
"The types of robberies that I'm talking about are street robberies that we're attempting to prevent. And an opportunity exists for whatever reason, maybe cell phones available, somebody talking on a cell phone or the offender sees an opportunity and takes it," Williams said.
"I think it's a very good program and can help people stay safe and let someone know if something is going on or need help or something like that," said one resident.
"We need community involvement when citizens on the street, they see something's happening, we're not asking them to intervene necessarily, but at least to notify the police that something is going on, so we can get there as quickly as possible," Williams said.
Commander Williams says that if the community as a whole gets together, and advertises that they are united in the effort to resist criminal activity and to keep offenders out, that message gets out and offenders will choose their victims on the basis of what is easier. They do not want notoriety. The whistles should be available by next week. They will either be given for free or under $1.