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Activists Fed Up With Drug Dealing In Garfield Park In Broad Daylight

CHICAGO (CBS) -- CBS 2 cameras were in Garfield Park Tuesday morning and captured what appears to be drug buying. Two community activists say they're speaking out because the dealing, needs to stop.

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot has the story, in this Original Report.

The video shows people coming by car, foot and some even get picked up. Each person appears to be buying drugs, right in the open, at Garfield Park.

"This. Is ridiculous! You've seen it! You know it's there," said community activist Windy Pearson.

Pearson, the vice president of Safe Streets, says she's been trying to put a stop to the drug dealing in the park for the past two and half years.

"We pay taxes as well like anyone else. Our children deserve to have safe streets and safe parks," she said.

Pearson says the open air drug market isn't the only problem, pointing out a place she calls "The Heroin Hut."

Annette Britton of Garfield Park Neighborhood Network says she took photos last winter, showing "The Heroin Hut" in plain view.

"This is my home! I'm not going anywhere!" Britton said. "I know residents and people are law abiding, hard-working, tax paying citizens, when they come home, they go inside and you don't see them. They merely exist. We aren't living in our communities, we just exist here and for me, and to me that's unacceptable!" she said.

28th Ward Ald. Jason C. Ervin says in a statement: "This has been an ongoing problem continuously referred to the last two commanders in the 11th police district. The Chicago Police Department needs to utilize area surveillance cameras more to make drug arrests. They also need to focus on the drug demand side of this problem by doing sting operations. This is shameful. It wouldn't exist in Lincoln Park, so why is it allowed to exist in Garfield Park."

Police issued a statement saying, "Narcotics remain a challenge in the 11th District and CPD has a number of personnel who work specifically on this issue.

In 2013, CPD launched the West Side Narcotics Initiative, an anti-violence effort focused on narcotics markets in Districts 11 and 15. Thirty redeployed officers from the Department's Narcotics Division conduct undercover operations to bust drug dealers. Following a bust, an additional 30 reassigned uniformed officers from the Bureau of Patrol flood the area to prevent an immediate reemergence of drug dealers and gang activity.

There have also been several missions and enforcement actions directed at activity in and near Garfield Park.

As a result of these efforts, and with the help of community members, this year Chicago Police have made more than 5,000 drug related arrests in the 11th District alone, far more than any other district in the city.

We rely on community partnerships to continue reducing crime in our neighborhoods, and urge anyone with any information about criminal activity to report it to police."

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