FAIRFIELD — Escalating crime in the Cordelia Villages area has residents ready to take action.
To that end, a group of about 30 gathered on a blustery, drizzly Saturday afternoon at Ridgeview Park, next to Oakbrook Elementary School to discuss possible steps and to share their experiences.
Everything from mail theft to kicked-in doors and auto theft – often in broad daylight – has the residents of the area wanting some kind of help from the city.
“My car got stolen and then down the street another one got stolen,” said resident Karen Lorrayne Delp-Judkins, who is the administrator of a Facebook group named Cordelia Crime Fighters. “So we became more aware of the crime levels out here and it got scary.”
She said the sheer brazenness of the crime was what shocked her.
“My car was parked in front of my picture window, that’s how brazen they are,” Delp-Judkins said.
As they met, residents discussed security measures that have worked for their individual homes as well as what other communities have done to reduce crime.
Some people just want to feel safe in their homes, Delp-Judkins said.
“I’m kind of scared. I’m old now. I’m almost 65 and it’s just my husband and myself,” she said. “I had a gun, which I knew how to use, when he worked night shifts and I had babies to protect, because I knew I couldn’t take on a man by myself and take care of two little kids.”
Even a self-described second-amendment advocate like Delp-Judkins doesn’t see that as a solution for everyone.
“But I got rid of it because it was an old gun and I don’t really know that I want to replace that,” she said. ” . . . I didn’t want people who don’t know how to use arms picking them up and being vigilantes. Because that would scare me.”
Some residents have gone so far as to suggest a police substation in the area to reduce response times and elevate law enforcement’s profile in the area.
During the gathering, which was coordinated through another Facebook group, Cordelia Community Awareness, resident Matt Ocampo took an informal survey of what types of crime people had experienced.
A number of people raised hands at mail theft, items taken from porches, package theft and more.
“We figured if it’s just that and you widen the scope in our community, it’s got to be worse,” Ocampo said. “And they confirmed it when I was asking those questions. I kind of presumed that, but in that little group, if everyone’s raising hands, it’s telling.”
Living in the area for four years, Ocampo said he’s experienced a number of things.
“So that’s why we’re here. As a community we want to get together and take the next steps,” he said.
He said the group wants to continue to drum up support in the area and future meetings would likely be coordinated through social media.
“We’d like to invite a local officer. Maybe get a petition started to let the city council know we want help,” he said. “It’s a great community to live in. We want to work with (the city) to start addressing the crime issues that appear to be escalating. Because we’re out here.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.