By Joe Boyle
Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton received an early Christmas present with the holiday season officially in full swing.
Sexton mentioned during the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting on Monday night that a program initiated by the police department has had an impressive early success rate that bodes well for the upcoming holidays.
The “Walk and Talk” program unveiled by the police department as Thanksgiving Day was approaching has been an early success. The mayor said that police officers have been stopping by local businesses to check to help prevent retail thefts. The program is called Walk and Talk because the officers walk to each of the businesses to see that everything is going well.
“Since this program was started, retail theft reports have been quite low,” Sexton said. “They (police) are doing a good job. I like the idea of the police walking a beat and visiting each of these businesses. I thank the Evergreen Park Police Department for doing this.”
Police have been seen walking door-to-door visiting businesses in the new outdoor Plaza beginning at 9700 S. Western Ave. and continuing along to 95 th Street. Officers have also been visiting other retail outlets along Western Avenue. Police have also been implementing the Walk and Talk program along 95 th Street.
Local business owners are appreciative of the extra attention during the holiday season when shoppers come out in larger numbers and often retail thefts increase through December.
But what the mayor and the board like is the fact that the officers talk to the owners and staff as they visit the businesses. The police presence has been warmly received and has accomplished what the department was hoping for. Businesses are reassured with police stopping by and many of the retailers and even shoppers are beginning to know the officers by name.
“This is just a great idea,” Sexton said. “So far this has kept down crime. And businesses and shoppers appreciate it.”
The program is in its initial phase so exact figures are not available. However, the mayor and the board are pleased that the program allows retailers and shoppers access to the police during this busy holiday season.
The mayor thanked Police Chief Michael Saunders and the new Deputy Chief Peter Donovan for their assistance with the Walk and Talk program.
Sexton also referred to a resident who complained about drivers speeding through neighborhood streets at 95 th and Troy Avenue and nearby blocks during the last board meeting. Sexton informed the man, half-jokingly, that many of these drivers are most likely from the community.
“I told the man to tell his neighbors that we are going to crack down,” the mayor said.
Sexton said that the police began patrolling the area extensively after the resident’s complaints.
“And the man was right,” Sexton said. “The police were giving out many tickets near 95 th and Troy. And I think about 75 percent of the drivers are from Evergreen Park.”
The board also passed an ordinance unanimously for levying taxes for the Evergreen Park Library for the fiscal year that began last Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31. Another ordinance was passed for levying taxes for general corporate purposes for the past fiscal year.
The board also approved a business license for Christ Centered Church of Chicago, 2823-2825 W. 87 th St. Additional office space for counseling services and workshops will be provided. A license was approved for Dale’s Barber Shop, 3572 W. 95 th St. A license was also granted for Snipes, 9518 S. Western Ave., which will offer retails sales of footwear and apparel.
As a tribute to the late Howard Selkie, who was a longtime Evergreen Park resident who had wanted all men and women who served in the U.S. military to be recognized, flags will be lowered on Saturday, Dec. 7 in observance of Pearl Harbor Day.
Sexton also applauded another successful Farmers Market, which was held on Thursdays through mid-October at Yukich Field.
The Evergreen Park Chamber of Commerce will host a Holiday Luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 11 in the Butler Room at St. Xavier University, 3700 W. 103 rd St., Chicago. Registration deadline is Friday, Dec. 6. More information can be obtained by calling the Chamber, (708) 423-1118.
Yard waste containers will be continued to be picked up through Thursday, Dec. 12, weather permitting. Residents should dispose of leaves and garden waste in the green yard waste containers. Only excess leaves should be raked to the curb or placed in brown paper bags.
Visits from Santa Claus have begun in the village. Residents interested in setting up a visit can call the Recreation Department at (708) 229-3373.
No tickets are available for the Annual Christmas Concert of City Lights Orchestra to be held Sunday, Dec. 15 at Most Holy Redeemer Church.