Silent prayer march against crime

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2019

This past Sunday, community stakeholders, who included the mayor, chief of police and ministers took to the streets in Calumet Park to send a message to criminals that lawlessness will not gain traction in LaGrange. The message was in the form of a silent march that traversed the streets that make up the Calumet Park Neighborhood of about 700 people.

The march was organized by Dr. Robert Tucker, a retired educator and president of the Calumet Park Neighborhood Association, Inc. He has been the driving force in working with city leaders in revitalizing the neighborhood that was previously affected by crime. In fact, over the past few years crimes in virtually every category have been down or nonexistent in the community, which is dramatically different from when several people were shot a few years ago in the park. This prompted Dr. Tucker and others to organize residents in order to save their neighborhood.

That intervention has been successful and well-publicized in the media. Over the past few years, the neighborhood, located off of the heavily travelled Lafayette Parkway, which is the central artery leading into the City of Lagrange, off of the 85 expressway, has been popular to many seeking a place to exercise, host a family reunion gathering or to play sports. It is frequently described by city leaders and community stakeholders as a kind of model neighborhood that has been revitalized as a result of the intervention of its residents.

The sanctity of the neighborhood, however, was disturbed on April 27, 2019, when a “thug” using an AK47 weapon, pumped a fusillade of bullets into a home located at 202 Vine Street. Dr. Tucker and other residents immediately sprang into action to speak out against the senseless act of violence that could have resulted in tragic consequences.

On this past Sunday, a message to criminals in the form of a march was delivered to criminals that they were not wanted in Calumet Park or the City of LaGrange. In speaking to the group before the march, Mayor Jim Thornton ensured residents that the city was concerned about the safety and tranquility of all neighborhoods. Chief of Police Lou Dekmar reassured marchers that his department is always a willing partner in any neighborhood, anti-crime initiative.

He further stated that the persons involved in the Vine Street shooting had been quickly arrested.

He went on to say that when residents become involved in the safety of their neighborhoods, it can become an effective crime deterrent.