I have lived in Oak Park 30 years and I have never been as excited to read a local headline, "Youth violence on rise in villages," as I was when I read your paper today. Thank you for validating a concern I have had for going on two years now.
I actually composed a letter to the paper about the violence in my neighborhood but then felt the situation was being addressed by our beat officer. There was a community meeting in October and that helped too. But your paper today is the best Christmas present I could get. I am so relieved that people are aware that there are problems and are trying to help. I think there could have been another killing. It has not been very pleasant living on the 500 block of North Humphrey Ave. My 13-year-old son doesn't play in front of our house because he feels threatened since his friend has been hit and threatened (last year and this year). I've been at the school bus stop twice a day since October (on the pretext of walking the dogs) at the corner of Iowa and Humphrey because of a battery incident at the bus stop, and I was having the feeling that the high school students who waited there for the elementary students at 4 p.m. were selling them drugs. I welcomed the cold weather because there will be less people hanging around outside.
So, while I am glad that I haven't been just "getting carried away" with worrying about events that have occurred on this block, I am alarmed at the implications for our town. How many incidents have occurred that I don't know? And Dr. Bridge is right, the parents of the youth involved do not want to hear how their children are treating other youths; you become the problem if you try to talk to them. And things didn't just start happening Dec. 4.
Thanks to John Williams for talking to the press. I have confidence he can help. Thank you WEDNESDAY JOURNAL for making this issue a priority. I am more hopeful for the new year.