Belmont-Cragin residents hold emergency meeting on sex assault, demand more police presence

Residents are demanding more police protection following the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl on her way to school.
December 19, 2013 8:28:35 PM PST
Residents are demanding more police protection following the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl on her way to school. She was attacked in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side Tuesday.

Concerned residents called an emergency meeting Thursday night. More than a hundred residents turned out for the meeting, and some said that even before Tuesday's assault, they were concerned about crime in their neighborhood.

"We're going to make sure that we catch this monster. We're going to make sure that it doesn't happen again in this community or any other community in the city of Chicago," said Supt. Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Department.

Those words came two days after a 15-year-old girl was hit in the head, dragged behind a home and sexually assaulted.

McCarthy says more than 50 officers are now involved in evidence gathering.

"We have sifted through basically about a ton of garbage that was picked up along that route," said McCarthy.

Tuesday's attack occurred half a block from a CPS Safe Passage route, early in the morning when few people were around.

"The problem with our Safe Passage routes is that they're not staffed until 6:45. These high school students are leaving the house at 5:45 and 6:00 in the morning to get to school," said Enid Martinez-Gonzalez, Belmont-Cragin resident

After Supt. McCarthy left the meeting, some residents vented frustrations.

"I don't know how to express this, but I have no faith in the police. I'm sorry," said Raquel Castaneda, Belmont-Cragin resident.

Some complained about poor police response times and lack of patrols.

"No more! Chicago Mayor Emanuel, please get more police on the street," said a resident who did not wish to be identified by name.

Despite the criticism, the meeting ended on a note of unity as a community prayed for a young victim, and for justice.

Superintendent McCarthy says the investigation is still in the early stages. He says some progress has been made but declined to offer specifics.


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