(March 17, 2021, JNS Wire)
As carjackings and armed robberies skyrocket in Chicagoland, a local nonprofit recently offered a seminar designed to promote street safety. Entitled “Street Safe—Don’t be a Victim,” the seminar taught how to develop a personal safety strategy. It taught attendees how to avoid becoming the victim of carjacking or other violent crime. Over 200 attendees joined the seminar both in-person and via Zoom, with over 40 Chicagoland synagogues represented at the event. The event was extensively covered by local media, including CBS Channel 2 reporter Steven Graves and a news crew, who interviewed the speakers and attendees. Officers from the Chicago Police Department’s 24th District Place of Worship Safety Advisory Team and officers from the Lincolnwood and Skokie Police Departments were in attendance.
“The increase in carjacking and crime extremely concerns every law-abiding family. One reason for the increase in crime is linked to the leniency of punishments for hard crimes and now the elimination of cash bail. My question is basic, why are elected officials decreasing Police abilities to keep you safe?” Said Barry Bass, Mayor of Lincolnwood, who also attended the seminar.
The course was presented by the Concerned Citizens League (CCL) Shul Members, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting safety throughout Chicagoland Jewish communities. As reports of community members being victimized increased in recent months, they realized this course would be a crucial tool to help protect the community.
“The most important thing we can do for our loved ones and community members is to ensure they are safe,” said seminar instructor and Shul Security Director Craig Lawrence CPP CAS, who is a security and counter-terror assessment veteran with more than 25 years of service and serves as the Principal Consultant for Risk Protection Associates based out of Deerfield, Ill. “This seminar gave the community the tools they need to reduce the likelihood of becoming the victim of a violent crime and escaping with minimal injuries if they do.”
The seminar taught the three core elements of an effective personal safety strategy. It featured Guest Speaker Eugene Roy, PCI Former Chief of Detectives of the Chicago Police Department. He shared valuable insight gleaned during his many years of devoted service in keeping Chicagoans safe.
“I’m honored to have had the opportunity to speak with the community and share my insight on the factors contributing to the dramatic increase in carjackings and other violent crimes, and to provide them with tips and strategies they can use to minimize becoming victims,” said Roy.
With synagogue safety of growing concern amid a resurgence in antisemitic acts, CCL Shul Members assists local Synagogues with recruiting, vetting, and training Shul Safety Officers to serve in their synagogues across the Chicagoland area. These volunteer safety officers are given top-tier instruction in everything from greeter strategies and threat identification to advanced first aid to use of force and professional firearms training. The Synagogue Safety Officer (SSO) training is ongoing, and the group continues to seek qualified candidates.
“Our SSO training is a crucial step in enhancing the security of our places of worship,” said CCL Shul Members Vice President Avraham Hershkovich. “This program is the latest example of our ongoing efforts to identify and respond to the current threats that are facing our communities and continuing in our mission of keeping our synagogues and community members safe.”
CCL Shul Members has expanded their critical support capabilities with a whole host of low-cost, subsidized training classes, seminars, vetting programs, and consulting services that enhance the Jewish community’s security and safety. For more information, visit their website at CCLShulMembers.org.