Average citizens have been stepping up and helping fight crime

Earlier this month two citizens witnessed a carjacking on Rush Street and followed the suspect until he crashed the car into a nearby taxi then restrained him until police arrived.

Several times in the last few months average citizens have been responding to calls for help from victims of violent crime, and in some cases took the initiative to help apprehend the suspects as in the Rush Street carjacking.

Another well-publicized case involved the rescue of a women being sexually assaulted near Foster Avenue beach. Good Samaritan Stephen Kukenis was opening up a concession stand near the beach when he heard her scream.

As he walked into the bathroom he could see a man attacking a woman in a stall and called out that police were on their way, even though he hadn’t had a chance to call them. “He still didn’t stop attacking her so I had to push my way into the stall, because their body weight was against it,” Kukenis said in a telephone interview today. “I wrestled him and grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out.”

The suspect took off but was arrested soon after because several other citizens took action. One person called police while another followed the suspect on his bike and led police to the suspect a few minutes later.

One more story worth mentioning involves Good Samaritan Malik Mentor. According to Mentor, the wounded boy lay on the ground and pleaded for his life. The 46-year-old native of the West Indies said he couldn’t stand by and watch the teen be killed.

“Man, I’m not going to let this kid get killed right in front of me,” Mentor said. The victim, 14, had been shot in the thigh in the 8300 block of South Baltimore Avenue, police said. Mentor said he screamed at the gunman, “Man, please can you give him another chance.” The gunman looked up at Mentor.

It took a lot of intestinal fortitude to do that. Would you be willing to risk your life to try and talk an armed assailant out of killing someone you didn’t know? The assailant left and the life of the young man was saved.

What can you do to help if you don’t feel physically capable of intervening the way Mr. Kukenis did, or the two people who restrained the suspect in the Rush Street carjacking?

photo by Jan Tik

1) Keep a safe distance away and use your voice to let the assailant know they are being watched.

2) Tell the assailant the police are coming.

3) Get your cell phone out and call 911.

4) When you reach 911 take a deep breath to calm down and tell them what you see happening and where it is occurring. Try to include a description of the assailant.

There seems to be a trend with average citizens getting involved in fighting crime let’s keep it going.

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Ed Kress
For over 40 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. With the help of local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed developed a program focused on personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains and a wide variety of martial arts techniques.

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