SAUK VILLAGE | Residents gathered at the Sauk Village municipal center Wednesday in the wake of the fatal shooting Saturday morning of a 26-year-old Sauk Village man.
Trustee Derrick Burgess said the shooting was not the impetus for the informal, town-hall-style meeting, but "it certainly didn't help."
"(Crime) is happening all over, not just Sauk Village. It's all over," Burgess said. "If we can't get together and talk about it, then they've already won."
About 35 residents attended the town hall meeting, which was called by Burgess via Facebook and word of mouth. Village President David Hanks, Village Clerk Debbie Williams and Trustee Lynda Washington-House all attended in unofficial capacity and sat among residents.
An open forum allowed villagers to openly discuss issues with officials and each other. Ideas were broached for a "stop the violence" rally or march, suggestions for new ordinances and laws about loitering, littering and sagging pants and ways to keep young residents off the streets.
Williams suggested residents organize a march that would end at the municipal center on Aug. 5 to coincide with National Night Out, an event meant to raise awareness about police programs and neighborhood watch. Hanks said he would sign off on the march "as soon as it crossed" his desk.
Many of those in attendance wanted to see the village offer more activities for young people. Williams brought up the Right Start Outreach summer camp at the Sauk Village community center, which she said still had 40 more openings.
The free camp begins Monday and runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers breakfast and lunch for kids aged 10 to 18.
"I just want to get a handle on this (crime)," Burgess said. "I'm tired of coming every other week and hearing something tragic happened here in Sauk Village.
"We have enough negativity going on. We don't need that. We need to show that we're trying to be proactive and do something about it."
Residents expressed their hope to make the meetings a regular occurrence and Burgess announced via social media Thursday that he plans to host the next town hall meeting at 7 p.m. July 9. The location is yet to be determined.