Perceptions differ on this ‘quality of life’ issue in Carpentersville
By Denise Crosby email@example.com September 12, 2013 6:08PM
Trees lay knocked down on the parkway in the Kimball Hill neighborhood in Carpentersville in this photo taken by resident Ernest Diamond, who says the area is haven for speeding motorists and other troublemakers. Village police counter that it actually is one of the quietest neighborhoods in Carpentersville. | Submitted
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:07AM
Judging by the dozens of emails and documentation Ernest Diamond has sent to Carpentersville police and village officials, he lives in something close to a war zone.
According to Diamond’s descriptions of his Kimball Hill neighborhood, the area of Grandview Boulevard and Sleepy Hollow Road seems close to a free-for-all, with hoodlums racing cars and motorcycles that feature squealing tires, loud mufflers and pounding music; where homes are vandalized; and parkway trees get knocked down on a regular basis. And he seems to have plenty of facts to back up his claims, including photos of vandalism and abused parkways.
Police, however, offer a different snapshot. According to Cmdr. Tim Bosshart, this area on the far-west-side of Carpentersville — which contains newer and more affluent homes — “is one of the quietest” in the village.
There’s no doubt that village officials know Ernest Diamond well. He moved to Carpentersville in 2003, and four years later was firing off polite but detailed complaints to the village about excessive traffic noise. He also described Grandview as an “unimpeded thoroughfare from Sleepy Hollow to Randall Road, with drivers showing no concern for safety as they ignore stop signs and race at high rates of speed.”
Diamond received equally polite responses — though not nearly as many — from officials saying they are addressing the problem. Al Popp has been in communication with Diamond almost as soon as he took over as police chief 18 months ago. He says the department has continued to respond to those concerns by doing speed studies, adding more patrols to the area and stepping up ticket-writing.
But Popp describes the biggest problem as “a perception issue.”
That neighborhood, the chief agrees, can be “lively,” especially during rush house, because it is an “in/out to Randall Road.” Yet the only complaints they receive are from Diamond, a disabled Vietnam Navy veteran who admits he’s got plenty of time on his hands to document what he describes as “daily ordinance infractions.”
Diamond, who says he was an electrical technician for submarines and aircraft carriers, has recorded license plates, met with officers in the middle of the night, and purchased several high-tech instruments to record noise levels. Last October, he even began an Excel spreadsheet that he said recorded thousands of noise and vehicle infractions.
Diamond points to Elgin, Aurora and St. Charles as communities that show progress in these “quality of life” issues. And he’s dismayed the village only seems to be giving “lip service” to his complaints. It’s just a matter of time, he promised, before a car ends up in someone’s home.
Which it did — earlier this month when a vehicle landed in a vacant house after it struck a streetlight on Golfview Lane, then hit a utility pole and went airborne. Police said the 20-year-old driver, who was charged with reckless driving, admitted he began speeding when someone tried to pass him.
But that accident — which can happen anywhere, of course — occurred on the other side of the town, notes Popp. So you are really comparing apples to oranges.
Diamond, however, argues it’s these bad apples who will continue to create more problems unless they are challenged.
Which is just what police have — and will continue — to do, insists Popp. In addition to plans to add a speed sign in the neighborhood, the chief has invited Diamond to go along on a police ride-along.
“We don’t see it as he does,” says Popp. “But we want to get to the bottom of it.”