In response to a story concerning two attempted carjackings that took place Tuesday evening in northeast Oak Park, Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb says he understands residents’ concerns and police are working to catch the perpetrators.

Abu-Taleb said in a telephone interview that the story about a woman in the 700 block of North Lombard Avenue, who was the target of an attempted armed carjacking, was “heartbreaking.”

The woman, who spoke to Wednesday Journal under the condition of anonymity, had returned home, when a man put a gun to her head and demanded the keys to her car. She pleaded with the man, who was with an accomplice, to let her get her 3-year-old daughter out of the car before they stole it. The two suspects then fled on foot.

The attempted carjacking on Lombard took place at 6:20 p.m., about 30 minutes after another attempted carjacking in the 1200 block of North Austin Boulevard.

“I am so sorry for what this woman and her child had to go through,” Abu-Taleb said. “I can’t imagine telling someone, ‘Don’t drive away with my child.'”

Abu-Taleb said he wants Oak Parkers to know that the village puts public safety first and the Oak Park Police Department is working to capture the two would-be carjackers.

“I hear the fear; I hear this woman feeling unsafe,” he said. “I have been in situations where it’s been unsafe, and that’s why public safety is a major thing for me.”

The Oak Park Police Department has not responded to requests for additional information about the crime.

“I can assure you that the chief of police and the police department are on it,” Abu-Taleb said, adding, “They don’t want to jeopardize the investigation. Sometimes we’re slow to make statements about such matters, but it’s only for that reason.”

The victim of the carjacking attempt on North Lombard said in a telephone interview that she believes the lack of street lighting near her home might have made her a target and plans to petition the village to install one.

Asked about his thoughts on installing such lights, Abu-Taleb said, “If providing lights there would provide better safety, you better believe I’m for it, and I’m pretty certain that everyone on my board would advocate for such a tool, if it provides for better safety.”

He encouraged residents to develop a relationship with Oak Park’s resident beat officers and report anything they see out of the ordinary.

“We have our village divided into eight sections in terms of beat officers, and I want people to reach out to those beat officers if they have any information,” he said.

More information about the resident beat officer program is available online at http://www.oak-park.us/village-services/police-department/get-know-your-rbo.

The beat officer program is run by Sergeant Dave Jacobson, who is available at 708-358-5519 and djacobson@oak-park.us.

The resident beat officer zones include:

  • Zone 1, bounded by Ridgeland Avenue, Chicago Avenue, North Avenue and Austin Boulevard, is headed by Officer Anthony Coleman (708-606-1938 and coleman@oak-park.us).
  • Zone 2, bounded by Harlem Avenue, North Avenue, Chicago Avenue and Ridgeland Avenue, is headed by Officer Shatonya Johnson (708-613-1794 and sjohnson@oak-park.us).
  • Zone 3, bounded by Harlem Avenue, Chicago Avenue, Austin Boulevard and North Boulevard, is headed by Officer Raphael Murphy (708-305-9779 and rmurphy@oak-park.us).
  • Zone 4, bounded by Oak Park Avenue, South Boulevard, Madison Street and Austin Boulevard, is headed by Officer Robert Primak (708-305-9780 and primak@oak-park.us).
  • Zone 5, bounded by Harlem Avenue, South Boulevard, Oak Park Avenue and the Eisenhower Expressway, is headed by Officer Robert Monty (708-613-1206 and rmonty@oak-park.us).
  • Zone 6, bounded by Oak Park Avenue, Madison Street, Austin Boulevard and the Eisenhower Expressway, is headed by Officer Traccye Love (708-613-1795).
  • Zone 7, bounded by the Eisenhower Expressway, East Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Austin Boulevard, is headed by Officer Derrick Verge (708-613-1554 and dverge@oak-park.us).
  • Zone 8, bounded by Harlem Avenue, the Eisenhower Expressway, East Avenue and Roosevelt Road, is headed by Officer John Rumoro (708-305-9782 and rumoro@oak-park.us).

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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