New police cameras coming to Beverly, Mount Greenwood and Morgan Park

At least 12 new cameras are to be installed in the 19th Ward neighborhoods after a fatal carjacking and mass shooting in the past year.

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Police officer John Thill monitors cameras placed around the 19th Ward from the Morgan Park District’’s Strategic Decision Support Center.

Police officer John Thill monitors cameras placed around the 19th Ward from the Morgan Park District’’s Strategic Decision Support Center.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The city’s 19th Ward — which includes Beverly, Mount Greenwood and Morgan Park — is more than doubling the number of police cameras it has on the streets.

Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) is using about $300,000 from a $1.3 million discretionary fund that every alderman gets for ward improvements to pay for 12 or 13 new cameras. The alderman said Friday he hopes the cameras will be installed by the end of summer.

Eleven police cameras are now deployed in the ward.

The police camera feeds are monitored nonstop by officers in a special room known as a Strategic Decision Support Center at the Morgan Park District station.

Two of the new cameras have been installed. One of the new cameras was put up a block from where retired Chicago Fire Department Lt. Dwain Williams was fatally shot Dec. 3 during an attempted carjacking outside Let’s Get Poppin, a popcorn store at 11758 S. Western Ave.

Barbara Marsh, who owns the popcorn store, has security cameras at her business; she shared footage with police that ultimately led to murder charges against four people, including a 15-year-old boy.

“It’s important,” Marsh said of the new police cameras. Since installing her security cameras nearly 20 years ago, she said, she’s been visited by police many times to see she could provide footage that might offer clues in crimes that occurred nearby.

The other new camera is a license plate reader at 115th Street and Fairfield Avenue near the entrance to Mount Hope Cemetery that’s been the site of “problematic gang funeral processions,” Police Cmdr. Sean Joyce said.

O’Shea said the fatal carjacking and a mass shooting over the summer at a pancake house in his ward that killed one and left four wounded have resulted in hundreds of emails conveying the same message: “Matt, what are you doing to keep us safe?” 

It’s generally a low crime ward, he said. “They’re not used to it, nor should they be.”

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