Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has agreed to send more resources toward Oak Park’s effort to curb carjackings and other crime in the village.

A press release from Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin notes that the partnership was a result of Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb reaching out to Dart and Boykin to request additional law enforcement resources.

“As the Cook County Sheriff, my office serves residents county-wide,” Dart said in the press release. “When issues like this arise, it is my duty to work with existing law enforcement to find a solution.”

Boykin said in a telephone interview that the Sheriff’s Office has spoken with the Oak Park Police Department about the extent of the operation with the goal of increasing the sheriff’s visibility in the village.

“They’re donating vehicles and manpower in Oak Park to deal with the carjackings,” Boykin said, referring to the rash of vehicular hijackings that have taken place in Oak Park over the last year.

Five carjackings have taken place in the village so far in 2018.

“(Dart) takes this seriously and wants to make sure the people are safe in every community,” he said. “It’s good for Oak Park and it is also good for the county in terms of making sure people are safe.”

Patrick Oldendorf, Boykin’s deputy chief of staff, said the effort is now limited to Oak Park because of the request from the mayor.

“I applaud Commissioner Boykin and Sheriff Dart for working quickly to fight this issue,” Abu-Taleb said in the press release. “We must work proactively to fight crime in our community, and collaboration serves as proof that the stakeholders are working together.”

State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said in the press release that he also has been in contact with local law enforcement officials and state police “about the disturbing spike in carjackings” in the village.

“The State Police Department is concerned and focused on this issue across the region,” Harmon said. “We have got to put a stop to it, and I am encouraged by the number of arrests already and the dedication of new resources to help.”

Meanwhile, the Village of Oak Park issued a press release on Friday, Jan. 26, noting that more marked police cars have been dispatched to the streets and alleys of Oak Park over the last few weeks.

“Having additional marked squad cars on our streets is important, whether they bear the emblem of the Oak Park Police Department or any other law enforcement agency,” Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose said, referring to the presence of Sheriff’s Department squad cars. “Criminals rely on finding targets they can hit quickly and move on. Seeing a roving patrol car is a sure way to make a criminal think twice.”

Ambrose also said that “patrol strategies are not fixed” and that OPPD is monitoring crime reports and communicating with other law enforcement agencies to better track criminal trends.

“High visibility throughout the community with marked squad cars is a proven crime prevention tactic,” Ambrose said. “But we also maintain an aggressive undercover approach to broaden the reach of patrols, especially in areas where data suggest a trend may be developing.”

He added that resident participation in crime prevention is still key to catching criminals.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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