About 40 concerned local residents and police officers met earlier this month to discuss robberies and assaults that have occurred recently in Lakeview.
Although crime rates have been decreasing, several residents said this is the most insecure they have felt in a long time.
“Halsted used to be rough in the ’90s, but I felt safer back then than I do now,” said Rob Davis, who’s lived in Lakeview since 1963. “This is the most unsafe I’ve felt in this neighborhood since I’ve been here.”
According to crimeinboystown.blogspot.com, officers who have reported these attacks say the aim is not to rob victims, but the attackers are doing it for fun. Victims who had valuables on them were not robbed.
Crime reports show robberies dropped in beats 1924 and 1933 by about 14 percent in June. In beat 1924 – which covers all streets inside of Clark Street to Janssen Avenue and Belmont Avenue to Eddy Street – burglaries are down 5 percent and thefts down 18 percent.
In beat 1933 – which covers Clark Street to Sheffield Avenue and Belmont Avenue to Diversey Avenue – burglaries are down 18 percent and thefts are down 35 percent in the last month.
“We are making arrests, we’re out there,” Sgt. Jason Clark said at the July 11th CAPS meeting.
Clark reported most robberies are happening on Clark Street between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. as bar goers are being stripped of their smartphones after a night of drinking.
It’s difficult for police to arrest suspects in these crimes because victims are drunk when being robbed and can’t pick out the suspects in a lineup, police say.
Officers have made six arrests in the bar scene in Wrigleyville and Boystown in the last month. Officers are working with bars trying to have their bouncers spend more time on the sidewalks.
“We can’t be everywhere, as much as we’d like to be,” said Clark.
Thefts are happening around the area due to people leaving doors unlocked and windows open. Clark suggests locking the deadbolt, even if the home is occupied, to ensure safety. It’s too easy to break into a house where just the knob is locked.
Police have tracked and arrested a suspect who was involved in multiple break-ins by following the path he was taking. Clark predicts arresting this one suspect will decrease the number of house burglaries in the area.
Residents said they feel as if they have to protect themselves because there aren’t enough police.
Some wondered whether citizens can make arrests, but Clark quickly shut down the question, saying a citizen can try to hold a suspect, but only police have the to make an arrest.
That prompted Davis to say, the “Chicago Police Department is understaffed,” causing other residents to clap in agreement.
The next CAPS meetings for beats 1924 and 1933 will be Aug. 8.