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posted: 1/23/2014 5:30 AM

Elgin police start 'party patrols' in response to shootings

Police on lookout in wake of shootings

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Elgin police have instituted "party patrols" and are looking at other measures as a response to recent shootings that took place in connection with local parties.

Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda gave an update to the city council on Wednesday in the wake of the three shootings since Dec. 29. Officers working the midnight shift on weekends will be on the lookout for large, late-night gatherings of people to try to prevent trouble by patrolling the area, Swoboda said.

That already started last weekend, after a shooting early Saturday on the 600 block of Wing Street, Elgin Deputy Chief Bill Wolf said. A man was injured after leaving a party with about 50 people; police are investigating "solid leads," Swoboda said.

Also, Elgin police will look at proactively gathering information about upcoming parties ahead of time, a tactic used by police departments in Los Angeles and other cities, Wolf said.

Police will be especially interested in finding out about parties that might be attended by gang members, or where underage drinking may occur, Wolf said. "Routinely more serious crimes happen after parties," he said.

Swoboda said police arrested and charged a Carpentersville man in connection with a shooting that took place after midnight Dec. 29 near a party with about 50 people on the 1000 block of Congdon Avenue. There were no reported victims.

In a shooting in the early hours of Jan. 12, five people were wounded after they left a party attended by 80 to 100 people on the 200 block of North Street. Police are confident charges will be made in the next couple of days, Swoboda said.

"I think people want answers, want arrests right away, and sometimes that's not possible," he said.

Swoboda also touted the police department's 40-year low in the number of major crimes since 1972, when the city's population was about half of today's.

"When adjusted for population, those numbers are impressive," Councilman Rich Dunne said.

Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger asked if the recent shooting were gang-related.

"Until we have somebody in custody and they tell us why they did it, we can't really say," Swoboda said.

Patrols: Chief won't say if recent shootings wer gang-related

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