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Activist: Little Village needs cameras to curb fake ID rings, street crime

Community activist Raul Montes Jr. says the Little Village community needs blue-light surveillance cameras along 26th Street, from Pulaski to Hamlin, to protect citizens from increasing crime and to stop peddlers trying to sell fake IDs.

Montes said Sunday he has collected more than 1,000 signatures in the last two years on a petition supporting the cameras' installation on 26th Street and throughout Little Village.

"I'm not going to stop collecting signatures," he said. "I need people's involvement."

Montes told a news conference at Manuel Perez Jr. Plaza that the fake-ID sellers are so bold that they stop traffic on 26th Street, seeking to sell phony driver's licenses, Social Security cards and state identity cards, among other documents.

"The spread of fake IDs puts innocent people at risk of identity theft, bad credit reports and false arrest records," Montes said, noting that the problem has gone on for years.

On Sept. 19, federal officials arrested 21 people in Little Village in a second sweep of an alleged visa fraud operation in the last year.

Montes, 35, said he is considering running against incumbent Ald. Ricardo Munoz, although Montes has not yet started gathering signatures to support his candidacy. About a dozen supporters stood beside Montes at the news conference in a chilly wind.

Munoz could not be reached for comment Sunday. He was quoted in an October 2007 Chicago Sun-Times article as opposing using surveillance cameras to identify cars parked in the way of street sweepers, since the "no parking" signs posted on street-sweeper days are often taken down before motorists even see them.