Thumbs up: To National Night Out on Crime. More than 30 organizations participated in this fun family event in DeKalb, including several local police and fire agencies. Often, the only time members of the public, including children, interact with police officers and firefighters is when something bad has happened. Events like this help to put a face on emergency personnel, which can lead to a greater sense of trust and people feeling more comfortable calling or approaching local rescuers when they need help.
Thumbs up: To DeKalb County’s continuing relocation efforts at Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park. The neighborhood, which includes about 130 mobile homes, is in a flood plain and is notorious for being inundated by floodwaters from the Kishwaukee River after heavy rains. It is not a safe place for people to live. The county has begun the process of gathering information about residents and finding out how they will be compensated and to which kind of housing they would like to be relocated. Also, people who are not legal residents will not be entitled to any compensation, which is being paid out by the federal government. The process will be deliberate, but that is important to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
Thumbs down: To local gun crime. Six people were arrested this week in connection with two separate gun-related incidents. In DeKalb, two brothers were arrested in connection with a July 27 incident where a gun was fired from an apartment balcony into the parking lot below, police said. In Sycamore, four men were arrested early Tuesday after police said they stopped them and found an AK-47 and several rounds of ammunition in plain view in the back seat. Guns add a lethal element of danger to any confrontation, and we hope the recent incidents are a coincidence rather than the start of a trend.
Thumbs up: To protecting victims of domestic violence and stopping abusers. This week, Gov. Pat Quinn signed three measures aimed at punishing abusers and protecting victims. One toughens penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders, making a second domestic violence offense a felony effective Jan. 1. Another requires schools to have policies for responding to teen dating violence, and a third would protect abuse victims covered by their abuser’s insurance policy. Domestic violence is abhorrent and is dangerous for victims, others in the home and the police who often must respond. Any measures that can empower victims and strongly punish abusers are welcome.