1998 ReCaps Goals Met - Where's the Cummunity

CCMP in Chicago: Austin Drug House Shut Down Program.

Chronology and Update (March, 1998):

Austin Drug Area Shutdown Goals Are Met - But Where's the Community?

  • 1997 August. After the Aug. 23 community policing convention, Austin police and community activists develop separate lists of 50 Austin drug dealing areas. These lists are found to be nearly idenfical when compared at a Nov. 4 meeting at the 15th District, HQ.
  • 1997 Nov 6. Austin residents voice support for 15th District police present Commander Richardson's "Counter Drug Strategic Plan" presented at Mt. Olive M.B. Chruch. Residents also approve 15th district selection of top ten drug dealing areas.
  • 1997 Nov. 11. Photos of "Austin's Top 10 Dope Dealing Shutdown Targets," appear on front page of The Austin Voice along with graphic showing 71 Drug Areas in Austin by beat number and street location. Lead article by Steve Sewall of CCMP decribes co-ordianted Drug Area Shutdown strategy as "citizen-driven, youth centered, media-enhanced, and results oriented."
  • 1997 Thanksgiving week. Mission accomplished. Austin police clear 10 major drug areas, netting 102 arrests by conducting "sweeps" of dealers and "reserve stings" of customers. In some cases, drug areas, once cleared, stay cleared. In at least one other, however, dealers are out dealing "even before the first group of arrested dealers is booked and processed," as Comdr. Richardson puts it.
  • 1997 Dec 12. At the third of three monthly meetings of the Austin Youth Advisory Council held at the Austin YMCA, Austin youth on probation and Commander Richardson exchange information and develop respect.
  • 1997 Dec. 27. Front-page Chicago Tribune story by Jerry Thomas "Trust builds slowly in Austin" unaccountably fails to mention the Austin Drug House Shutdown program despite input to Thomas from several several important people in the community.
  • 1998 January. Building on the success of the first wave of drug area shutdowns, 15th District Comdr. Richardson targets 30 more drug areas for closure in January and February. Community policing groups begin meeting to create teams of citizens to monitor each closed drug area with a view to reporting new dealing activity to the 15th District.
  • March 3. Two questions present themselves.
    • When will Chicago media cover this story, one of the biggest CAPS success stories of 1997-'98?
    • And when will community policing groups who have been waiting in the wings decide to get involved?
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