To tackle neighborhood problems in the Mulberry Court area in southwest Elgin, a police initiative includes staffing a booth at a nearby indoor mall.
Bilingual police officers and community agencies, such as Centro de Informacion and The Private Bank, will staff the booth starting Friday at Elgin Mall, 308 S. McLean Blvd., Elgin Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said.
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The goal is to provide information about government assistance, housing, code concerns, public works-related issues, graffiti removal, jobs, child care, and more, Theriault said.
Police will meet area residents during a "walk and talk" -- an event usually reserved for summer -- along Meyer Street at noon Saturday. Police will give out porch light bulbs donated by Ziegler's Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Target.
About four months ago, a neighborhood officer was assigned to the area because of its high rate of nonviolent crimes, such as bike thefts, Theriault said.
"The residents officer working in that area has had a difficult time to get to the community. We've been hosting meetings, doing all the things we normally do," he said. "(Now) we figured, 'Rather than keep waiting, we're going to come to you.' "
Centro de Informacion Executive Director Jaime Garcia said the initiative is a good idea.
"Many times our community is weary of just having any contact with police," he said.
"If they see us working there with the police, it's like, 'OK, they're not so bad after all.' "
The Elgin Mall booth will be staffed as frequently as possible, Theriault said. When the booth is not staffed, there will be fliers available and a suggestion box.