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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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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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