NW Side businesses hit by graffiti vandal

Police are asking businesses and residents to be on the lookout for anyone who might be responsible for graffiti that is plaguing the Six Corners business district.

Residents at the monthly Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting for police beat 1624 in Portage Park, held Wednesday, said the problem is centered on the alleys adjacent to Milwaukee just north of Irving Park. Police say that the Four Corner Hustlers gang is active in the area, but the graffiti does not appear gang related.

Police said they have charged one suspect with tagging over 20 buildings in the area. The alleged offender could not be charged with a felony because no single tagging did more than $300 damage. And the graffiti has continued since that arrest.

In response, State Representative Joseph M. Lyons (D-19th district) is working to propose a change to the law which would permit felony charges in future, according to Nadia Ryan, an aid to 45th Ward Alderman Patrick J. Levar.

Also discussed at the meeting was a series of trash can fires which have damaged several garages and one vehicle. Police suspect a recent blaze at 4209 N. Melvina may be connected to the earlier fires, which they said are the work of an arsonist.

Police have issued a community alert advising residents to avoid overloading trash cans until the day of pickup, to move them away from buildings, and to report suspicious persons. The Bomb and Arson unit is investigating.

Meeting attendees also brought up car alarms going off at night in the 5100 block of West Hutchinson, an overcrowded house in the same block, and an underage male asking people to buy alcohol for him outside Savoy Liquor at Milwaukee and Warner.

One resident complained about a noisy weekend party at the Xcala Lounge at Milwaukee and Montrose. Xcala had previously been found in violation of liquor control regulations and hearings where ongoing, according to Ryan.

Residents also expressed concern about homeless people in the area around the Six Corners business district.