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Neighborhood residents feel safer living near jail

Crime is cut short by the facility’s presence and residents say its a safer area

By C1 Staff

COOK COUNTY, Ill. — Residents who live near the Cook County Jail on South Sacramento Avenue are used to the sights and sounds of inmates – and they also feel safer.

“We feel more protected here,” resident Francisco Salgado said of the marked and unmarked sheriff patrol cars that are a continuous presence on the street, according to the Sun Times.

“We always see police outside,” said Leticia Bahena. “We used to live in another neighborhood with gang bangers hanging around. It’s quiet [on Sacramento], not like other streets.”

Children play in the streets and one man, Jose Carmen Montoya-Muriyo, relies on jail visitors to keep his refreshment stand going.

Montoya-Muriyo says his business was affected earlier in the year when visitation hours were cut back. He says that most times, the officers are cordial and say hello.

The area isn’t perfect – graffiti lines some walls and there are reports of stolen bicycles. Registered sex offenders live near the jail. Every house seems to have iron or chain-link fencing.

But some take living near the jail as a reminder to remain on the straight and narrow. Mario Reyes, assistant executive director of the jail, grew up within the facility’s shadow and said it motivated him and nine of his eighth-grade classmates to pursue careers in law enforcement.

Though there have been 10 homicides already this year within a 2.2-mile radius of 22nd and California, there have been none on Sacramento. Residents credit that to the constant presence of the jail and patrolling officers.

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