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Burbank Residents Nervous After Gang Shootings

Burbank residents blast mayor at city council meeting after back-to-back gang shootings in August.

Facing a council room of scared residents, Burbank Mayor Harry J. Klein blamed parents, city interlopers and the court system for the town’s uptick in gang violence during a city council meeting on Aug. 15.

After two gang-related shootings is as many weeks, 150 residents packed Burbank City Hall and demanded their local elected officials to “get these people out of our neighborhood.”

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In the early morning hours of Aug. 2, outside a home on the 6400 block of West 86th Street. All four were treated at for non-life-threatening injuries.

The second shooting occurred around 10 p.m. Aug. 12, on the 8200 block of Lamon Avenue. Bullets hit two cars and a building. Burbank Police said the shooting was not random and believe that a person walking down the street to be the target of a drive-by shooting.

Both shootings occurred near Burbank grammar schools.

“I’ve been out here for 45 years and to be honest with you I’ve never seen this kind of activity,” Klein said. “I’m sorry it’s happening in the city of Burbank.”

The mayor told residents that the city’s gang officers are using every resource at their disposal, including a car-top camera that photographs license plates of vehicles driving through the community.

“We have a very, very keen awareness of what’s happening in your city,” Klein said. “No one is more frustrated in the last couple of days that the police chief and myself. He and I might as well be married to each other because I’ve been with him the last couple of days, literally for hours.”

Within the past month, Klein said that 15 shootings have occurred in the Fifth Municipal Court District, which includes the Bridgeview Courthouse, encompassing parts of Chicago’s Southwest Side and the near southwest suburbs.

Recent search warrants have turned up heroin, coke, cannabis, money and guns, and netted seven arrests, the mayor said.

According to Klein, gang members are alleged to live in “8 to 10 houses” in the community. The mayor said they know "who they are and where they live.

“But you just can’t go in there without probable cause,” Klein continued. “I read the Facebook like you guys read the Facebook, but you have to follow the law. Unfortunately gangbangers and people in the dope trade have better protection under the law than most of our good citizens.”

Burbank-resident Diane Aaron asked that since the police knew who the gang members were and where they live--why weren't residents allowed to know?

“Why don’t have pictures or our own little meeting,” she said. “Why aren’t they on the police blotter. We get no news whatsoever. The only reason we know what’s going on is from Facebook.”

Klein told the story of a 6-year-old girl whom he encountered at St. Albert the Great with her head bent in shame at her First Communion because her father’s name had appeared in a newspaper police blotter for a DUI a few weeks before.

“I vowed from that day forward that I’m not going to publish those things unless they impinge on public safety,” the mayor said. “We may not be as fast as you would want [posting police reports] on the website.”

Residents were advised to keep calling 911 if they saw anything suspicious. Gang officers gave residents their private cell phone numbers afterward “for those reluctant to give their names in a 911 call.”

The mayor agreed to hold a town hall meeting at a future date, but said they were “handcuffed by the courts” in rooting out gangs from Burbank.

The Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book (2012 edition) estimates number of active gang members in Burbank at 60, mostly from the Latin Counts and Ambrose gangs.

Asked if Burbank had ever considered community policing similar to Chicago’s CAPS programs, Police Chief Bruce Radowicz said that the city’s parks were under video surveillance.

“We urge all residents to call us and we’ll act on it,” Radowicz said. “They can’t enforce the law. I don’t want people to take unnecessary risk, that’s our job.”

The best thing residents can do is to check the Burbank Police website for the most accurate information—not misinformation on Facebook, the police chief said.

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Colleen C. August 21, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I didn't realize the comparison between a DUI arrest and gang bangers with weapons and drugs in the neighborhood... yeah lets protect them by using their kids as an excuse. Who cares about the rest of the law abiding citizens of Burbank and our kids, right??
KMar August 21, 2012 at 02:27 PM
SINCE WHEN IS LISTING A DUI SUSPECT AND A SUSPECTED GANG AREA THE SAME THING? THE NEEDS TO INFORM/PROTECT THEIR RESIDENTS BY AT LEAST REPORTING " there is gang activity at a residence on the 6300blk of west 83 pl" etc... THAT WAY, THEY ARE NOT SINGLING OUT A HOUSE. WHAT IF THAT SAME COMMUNION GIRL THAT THE MAYOR CARES ABOUT SO MUCH WAS SHOT IN A DRIVE-BY WHILE RIDING HER BIKE DOWN THE SIDEWALK ON THE GANG BANGER's BLOCK?! THEN WHAT?! AT LEAST PARENTS COULD PROTECT THEIR KIDS AND INFORM THEM WHAT BLOCKS THEY CAN GO ON AND WHERE TO STAY AWAY FROM TIL THE CITY RIDS THE FELONS.
Luther August 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Check the web site? You're kidding right? The home page has events from April and May. The last council minutes are from February. The Police Blotters latest item is from from February. On the Police Dept. Consortium site the August 2nd. shooting is listed as "CONTRIBUTING TO CRIMINAL DELINQUENCY OF A JUVENILE ". The August 12th. (13th. on site) drive by is listed as "CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO PROPERTY ". How does criminal activity not "impinge on public safety"?
DJ Kavanaugh August 21, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Can someone who has the "gang book" look up Oak Lawn to see how many gang members are estimated living in Oak Lawn? Also, I believe this is a double edged sword with regards to the alleged residences of the gang members. Residents, like myself, would like to know who to look out for or avoid. Yet, everyone knowing could harm the police's ability to apprehend them.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
We're going to be putting out some stories about gang awareness in the coming week. According the latest edition of the Chicago Gang Book (2012) -- OL gangs are Ambrose, Krazy Get Down Biys, Latin Kings, Maniac Latin Disciples, Satan Disciples and Two-Six (26). This book has been recommended to me by many Chicago Police gang officers.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I have lived in some gang-infested neighborhoods in the city and gone to a lot of CAPS meetings. Best practices and policy advocate for a multi-pronged approach to dealing with gangs. Gangs are a community problem--therefore, we are all responsible for working together to solve it.
DJ Kavanaugh August 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM
So if Burbank has an estimated 60 members, how many does Oak Lawn have? I completely agree with everything else you said.
Colleen C. August 21, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Thank you, Lorraine! I look forward to your upcoming stories!
melissa August 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Wait - they can't be kicked out? What kind of law is that? That lax law will lead to the next Englewood. I say the residents start parading by the houses they know have gangbangers with signs calling for them to leave. I live in Oak Lawn and don't like it happened one town over.
Bob August 21, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Citizens should probably not approach gang members who likely have guns. This is a job left to the police. It sounds like it is time to let these people know that they are not welcome. I remember when Police used to know how to do that
Cori August 21, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I love the fact that the mayor thinks that driving under the influence doesn't impinge on public safety. Maybe the little girl's father should have thought about how it would impact his kid before he got behind the wheel after drinking. So very glad I live in Oak Lawn now.
CJM August 21, 2012 at 08:53 PM
"Positive Loitering" by community residents helps. As mentioned upthread, thugs and bangers thrive on empty streets and a scared populace. They're like cock roaches; turn on the light and they scatter. Examples of positive loitering include, but are not limited to group dog walking, sitting on your front porch/lawn, or bike riding. You should never approach one of these thugs, but just by being out and about with your neighbors, it will help. Observe, take notes, and call 911 as often as needed until you get satisfaction The more you know ======*
krystin August 22, 2012 at 02:43 AM
glad i moved out of burbank when i did. i dont want bullets flyin past or at my kids!! mayor is a flippin idiot. just keep calling 911 yea because thats been doing something. KICK THE GANG BANGERS OUT. burbank doesnt care about anyone. oh but if HIS family was the victim i bet he would do something. burbank sucks
krystin August 22, 2012 at 02:50 AM
yea parade by their houses then get shot for harrassing them. think about what ur posting. mayor needs to stop bein a coward and be a freakin leader. and police need to do their freakin jobs!!! PROTECT burbank not make the citizens have to try and deal with it.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) August 22, 2012 at 04:43 AM
CJM - I can't tell you how many cold street corners I've stood on as a journalist and as a resident with the rest of my neighbors at positive loitering events. Even going to a park to picnic, play or read, walking your dogs together, etc. can chase gangbangers out of a neighborhood. I highly recommend positive loitering. These guys don't want to sell drugs or engage in criminal behavior with a lot of potential witnesses out enjoying and standing up for their neighborhood.
frank August 22, 2012 at 01:45 PM
If you let the cops be cops and not criticize them for "hassling" these animals and let them be the police maybe this will stop. You mouthed off to a cop when I was a kid , cop smacked you upside your head and so did your parents. Now it's the "not my baby, he's a good kid he reads the bible every day and is getting his life back together . ".
Norma Angelica Garcia August 22, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I'm all for having access to where sex offenders live. Helps us keep our kids safe. I think having the same kind of information about gang activity will help us protect our kids. At least give us the tools to protect ourselves, since nobody else is willing to do much about it. Stop protecting the thugs and protect the people that put you in office and keep you there!
DJ Kavanaugh August 22, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Norma, Tom Phelan, trustee in Oak Lawn, passed along the following website to track registered sex offenders a while back. http://www.isp.state.il.us/sor/sor.cfm
Dave W. August 22, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I don't understand how a drunk driver DOESN'T "...impinge on public safety,” It is too bad for the little girl, but the mayor should put THAT blame on her parents, not on a police blotter that is supposed to make citizens aware of potential dangers. DUI isn't shoplifting or loud music at 2am...it kills people and alters lives...what if another little kid is sad because THEIR parent was KILLED by a drunk? A drunk that somebody might have seen in the blotter and thought, "Hey, maybe we need to either not serve this yoyo, or at least not let them drive..." Stragner things have happened, but by all means, protect the guilty instead of the innocent. Mayor Klein, remember how you were going to be self-imposed oon your term limits? Time to reconsider your reconsider that...time to go...you have no handle on the things that beset your town and many locals flee all the time (and more would if the market were better to sell...). No town should have anything other than ZERO TOLERANCE for gangs, either...how tired are people of hearing that the police 'know' who the problems are but "can't"? Does that matter to a parent whose child lies dead in the street from being "collateral"? Will YOU bow your head in shame, then, Mr. Mayor?
Dave W. August 22, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I agree, Cori...I don't understand how a drunk driver DOESN'T "...impinge on public safety,” It is too bad for the little girl, but the mayor should put THAT blame on her parents, not on a police blotter that is supposed to make citizens aware of potential dangers. DUI isn't shoplifting or loud music at 2am...it kills people and alters lives...what if another little kid is sad because THEIR parent was KILLED by a drunk? A drunk that somebody might have seen in the blotter and thought, "Hey, maybe we need to either not serve this yoyo, or at least not let them drive..." Stragner things have happened, but by all means, protect the guilty instead of the innocent.
Colleen W August 23, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I totally agree with this. When you go on the web site and go to watch videos, its the same three videos since the onset of the neighborhood video cameras being installed. Do the cameras even work? Or perhaps since the bad guys noticed all the cameras, theres no more crime in Burbank!
Michele Grogan August 23, 2012 at 05:13 AM
That'd be great! I'd like to get this book too:) thank you Lorraine for sharing. It is soooo ridiculious out here in burbank, call 911 if we suspect sumthin report,um..& I thought the police b patrolling the areas (not like burbank is huge, lol) lookin out for these bad guys, wth? just makes me ponder, lol
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 08:43 AM
The Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book can be ordered online for $29.99. Proceeds from sales go to support the mission of the CGC. As I mentioned before, this book was recommended to me by many Chicago gang officers. It has a lot of great information and is updated every couple of years. https://www.chicagocrimecommission.org/ItemParent.aspx?id=107
Sap68 August 23, 2012 at 06:58 PM
FINALLY, the mayor who has been keeping Burbank's crime and gang problem on the down low for YEARS is speaking up. It takes two shootings in a 10 day time period for him to inform us that their are gangs in Burbank. Ask all the "lifers" who have spent the past 40+ years in Burbank and they will tell you it's fine. Ask a Burbank police officer who doesn't live in Burbank if there is a problem, and the stories will amaze you. Call the high school and ask them how many security/ police patrol the halls on any given day. My family moved 15+ years ago- because they noticed a decline/ change back then. Nothing surprises any of us anymore when it comes to hearing about our old home town.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I've just learned that a public safety town hall meeting has been scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at Reavis HS to discuss Burbank's gang and crime issues. Patch will be there.
MAD BURBANKER August 25, 2012 at 09:58 AM
NOTHING WILL EVER GET ACCOMPLISHED IN THIS THIS TOWN AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THIS COWARD MAYOR, WHO HALF THE TIME SPENDS HIDING UNDER HIS DESK..........TYPICAL EXUSE MAKING DEMOCRATE.
MAD BURBANKER August 25, 2012 at 10:07 AM
MAYBE HE SHOULD CONSIDER HIRING MORE POLICE OFFICERS! HE CAN'T CLAIM HE HAS NO MONEY FOR THEM SINCE HE'S BEEN SCAMMING ALL THE GAS STATIONS IN BURBANK WITH HIS GAS TAX......BET HE HAS PLENTY OF REVENUE AT HIS DISPOSEL
MAD BURBANKER August 25, 2012 at 10:34 AM
CAN'T BELEIVE THE MAYOR HAS THE GUTS TO ATTEND ST. ALBERTS, AFTER ALL, HE BANISHED THE CARNIVAL FROM THERE.OKAY CONCERNING THE SIX YEAR OLD GIRL WHO HE MET AT HER COMMUNION. HE VOWED TO NEVER PUBLISH A STORY UNLESS IT CONCERNS THE SAFETY OF THE COMMUNITY WELL WELL MR. MAYOR ,THAN HOW COME YOU NEVER PUBLISHED YOUR REASON FOR KICKING THE CARNIVAL OUT. AFTER ALL THERE WERE RUMORS GOING AROUND THAT THERE WERE SEX OFFENDERS WORKING FOR THE CARNIVAL,IF SO WE NEVER READ ABOUT IT IN THE PAPER OR COULD IT BE YOU WERN'T ABLE TO GET YOUR HANDS ON ANY OF THE MONEY THE CARNIVAL GENERATED.
Kathy Kline March 22, 2013 at 01:39 PM
What you all don't realize is that the mayor spends a lot of time in local taverns he is sympathetic for people who are like him.
melissa ferns August 22, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Hey I'm not defending the mayor in any way but as far as the carnival goes yes there were definitely sexual predators working there. When I was 13 in 2003 the carnies would try flirting with us we had no money and were just there walking around with friends. Well my friend had this brilliant idea to flirt back with them to try to get them to let us on the rides for free they told us to come back the next day when they had the hand stamps and they would give us one and gave her his number and said as long as she called him that night the next day he would hook us up. After the carnival left she changed her number he kept calling and she was afraid that one day her parents might pick up her cell phone and answer. Back then it seemed nothing as wrong but now looking back it was really messed up. Not to mention the rides from fantasy amusements constantly breaking and at least hurting a few kids each year due to malfunction, nobody wanted to get sued so I don't blame them for banning it now they have it in bridgeview so they probably figure its their problem. I was on the tilt a whirl one year at St.Alberts when the top part flew off of our seat almost hitting my friends in another car in the face if it wasnt for the fact they were spun around also caused major neck injuries for me because our heads fle back from the force. The following year the tilt a whirl broke again but this time the entire seat flew out of the ride with kids in it. There were many reasons that carnival was a bad idea including terrible carnies and cheap rides, if they had spent a little more and hired a better company maybe it would still exist there today instead of in bridgeview.

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