Ten days after the shooting of Christopher Sercye outside Ravenswood Hospital, the Beat 1911 meeting at Welles Park was filled to overflowing. The cops began by handing out crime statistics for the past year.

An attendee said, “I don’t see ‘murder’ listed.”

A cop replied, “That’s because we didn’t have any.”

The crowd protested, and the cop patiently explained, “Beat 1911 goes west from Damen. Ravenswood Hospital is on the east side of Damen, in Beat 1922.”

A few lonely voices tried to point out that Sercye lived in 1911 and that the shooting could have occurred on “our” side of the street, but the cops and the majority of those present insisted that they needed to hear about Beat 1911 problems and would deal with the murder at the end. Time ran out before we got to the murder. The top four problems for police and community action until the next monthly meeting were drag racing in front of a noisy BYOB restaurant, panhandling, illegal parking, and a man living illegally in an RV.

–Name Withheld

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