Tuesday, June 19, 2018

EXTRA PROUD: As Pride Parade Approaches, Boystown Sheds Reputation As Chicago's Robbery Capital

Boystown heads into this Sunday’s 49th Annual Chicago Pride Parade with an extra reason to be proud.

Just five years ago, the LGBTQ playground and adjacent Wrigleyville were in their third consecutive year of recording more robberies than any other Chicago neighborhood. This year, the Lakeview enclaves are among the city's safest.

It’s a big turn-around, especially when you consider the attitudes held by persons in charge back when things were terrible.

One Boystown bar owner sat in a neighborhood community policing meeting in 2011 and announced that his staff had begun to offer customers personal escorts home. “We had a Fantasyland here,” he told the meeting. “We’re never going to get that back.”

The local police commander whistled Dixie: “The crime rate has been fairly steady and kind of on a downward trend for the past several years,” she said.

And local Alderman Tom Tunney’s office was calling the problem “more of a perception issue than it is an actual crime issue.” Wrigleyville and Boystown would record the most robberies in at least a decade that year. A new record would be set the next year. And a third record would be set in the year after that. As recently as 2013, Tunney stated publicly that he had no idea that Boystown and Wrigleyville led the city in robbery reports.

Thankfully, some local residents didn’t accept the “no more Fantasyland” or “perception” answers.

Wrigleyville and Boystown are comprised of three Chicago Police Department beats: 1923, 1924, and 1925. In 2011, 2012, and 2013, beat 1924 consistently ranked #1 for robberies in the city of Chicago.

For the past 90 days, beats 1924 and 1925 are tied for 155th place. Beat 1923 ranks 181st. That’s a big deal and something everyone should be proud of.

Over the past 365 days, Beat 1924 ranks 38th for robberies citywide. Beat 1923 is in 153rd place. And beat 1925 is 170th.

Those rankings come directly from the Chicago Police Department.

What does that mean in raw numbers?

Well, Wrigleyville and Boystown has recorded 46 robberies so far this year. That’s down from 63 at the same time last year. By comparison, about twice as many robberies had been reported in the neighborhood by the time the Pride Parade arrived in 2011 and 2012.

Even Better

It’s difficult to look at partial-month stats before 2011 because a police department re-districting changed beat and district borders. But full-month stats are available going back to 2001.

How are Boystown and Wrigleyville shaping up this year?

So far, 2018 is tied for the fourth best-start to any year since 2001. (It tied with 2014, the year that the police department finally decided to get serious about the robbery problem.)

It feels great to see such incredible results—especially when it seemed like the people in charge of public safety once seemed more concerned with denial and diversion than planning and improvement.

Cheers, Boystown. We’re proud of you.

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Another ATM Skimmer Found In Lakeview; At Least A Dozen Devices Recovered On North Side Since May 1

Front of an ATM skimmer recovered in Lakeview | CPD
Chicago cops recovered another ATM skimming device in Lakeview on Sunday afternoon. It’s the second data-sucking contraption found on cash machines in the area since May 29.

At least a dozen ATM skimmers have been found on the North Side since May 1st, according to police data.

Yesterday, Chase Bank security summoned cops to their 3730 North Southport location after a device was detected around 4 p.m.

Skimmers are small devices that criminals plant on ATMs to secretly capture users' banking information and PINs. After allowing the sneaky contraptions to collect data for a period of time, fraudsters return to the ATM, collect the skimmers, and then create counterfeit debit cards using the captured data.

Back of the skimmer showing microcamera. | CPD
On May 29, Chicago police recovered a skimmer from a drug store’s ATM in the 3000 block of North Halsted. The local police district posted photos of the device on Twitter.

“The cash dispensing part [of the recovered skimmer] had a micro camera…to capture PINs,” the Town Hall District tweeted. “Always make sure the reader is securely attached before inserting your card and cover the PIN pad.”

A Chicago police officer who reads CWBChicago has offered some tips to help you steer clear of skimmer trouble:

“If you use an ATM in a bank after hours, you can use any card with a magnetic stripe to enter the vestibule. Use an expired card,” she suggested. “Then, before you put your real car in the machine, pull on EVERYTHING!! The keypad, the slot that you put your card in, etc. Nothing should come loose. If it does, call the police or alert the bank. Last but not least, cover your hand when you enter your PIN.”

The maps below show locations of ATM skimmer recoveries on the North Side since May 1st, according to city data.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wicker Park: Man Charged In Daylight Carjacking

Angel Ayala (inset) was ordered held without bail. | CPD; Google
A Logan Square man beat up and carjacked a driver in the middle of Milwaukee Avenue on the afternoon of June 7, prosecutors say. Angel Ayala, 19, was arrested at his home last Monday after the victim identified him in a photo line-up, according to prosecutors.

The 21-year-old victim was driving southbound around 3 p.m. when two men emerged from another car and beat him up on the street in the 1200 block of North Milwaukee, according to police. Ayala then got into the victim’s 2016 Ford Fusion and sped away, followed by the other car, police said.

A witness wrote down the license plate number of the other vehicle, which eventually led police to Ayala.

Ayala is charged with one felony count of vehicular hijacking. Judge David Navarro ordered him held without bail.

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Missing: Rogers Park Girl Didn't Return From School Thursday, Cops Say

UPDATE 11AM JUNE 19 — Chicago Police just announced that Fowsia has been located. No further information was provided in the announcement.
A Rogers Park girl has been reported missing after she failed to return home from school on Thursday, police said in a bulletin issued Sunday night.

Fowsia Ibrahim, 14, lives in the 1400 block of West Howard. She went to school on Thursday morning but has not been seen since.

She was last seen wearing a yellow hijab, a black shirt, and a black and gray striped skirt. She has black hair, brown eyes, stands 5’5” tall, and weighs 130 pounds, the police notice said.

Anyone with information about Fowsia’s whereabouts is asked to call the Area North Special Victims Unit at 312-744-8266.
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LOOP: Parolee Shot Along Lakefront Trail Overnight

The man was shot on the sidewalk in the 600 block of South Lake Shore Drive (above). | Google
A 28-year-old man is in serious condition after being shot along the Lakefront Trail downtown early Sunday. No one is in custody.

Police said the man was walking with a group of people in the 600 block of South Lake Shore Drive when an argument broke out and another man fired shots around 1:40 a.m. The victim was struck in the lower back. Cops found three shell casings on the sidewalk at Lake Shore Drive and Balboa.

Several people fled into nearby Grant Park with the gunman, according to witnesses. Police described the suspect as a black male with dreadlocks who was wearing gray joggers with a white t-shirt. He carried a backpack. The man was in the company of a woman who is black, pregnant, and wore a gray dress, according to police bulletins issued after the shooting. Police officers and canines searched Grant Park for the offender through the overnight hours, but no one was located.

State records show that the victim has five felony narcotics convictions since 2012. He is currently on parole after being released from prison late last summer. Police said he is a documented gang member.

Other media outlets are reporting the victim’s age to be 25 due to incorrect preliminary information provided by police. A CWBChicago source reported that the man’s correct age is 28 and that information was confirmed via police and Illinois Department of Corrections records.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

CTA Attack: Ex-Con Charged With Sucker-Punching Senior Citizen

Derrick McMath (inset) and CTA surveillance images of the attack. | Chicago Police Dept
A southwest suburban man has been charged with sucker-punching a 67-year-old woman as she read her Kindle aboard the Red Line late Thursday morning. Cops arrested 28-year-old Derrick McMath around 2:45 p.m. on Friday after he allegedly ran out of a Logan Square store without paying for a pair of shoes, police said in a statement. Arresting officers recognized McMath as the CTA assailant whose photo had been distributed to the media less than an hour earlier.

McMath is charged with felony aggravated battery-great bodily harm to a person over age sixty and misdemeanor retail theft. Judge Stephanie Miller ordered him held without bail on Sunday afternoon.

The woman may lose her eyesight as a result of the attack, CPD Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi said.

An archived report from the Daily Southtown says McMath was charged with battery on April 5 after he allegedly “punched a man in the face numerous times” in suburban Chicago Ridge. The Chicago Ridge Police Department did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the April case.

Just before noon on Thursday, McMath was riding a northbound Red Line train when he suddenly wound up his fist and punched the victim in the face, police said, calling the attack “vicious” and “brutal.” The attack was completely unprovoked and the woman suffered a serious injury to her eye that threatens her vision, police said.

McMath exited the train at the Jarvis station after the attack and walked away, according to authorities.

Police said today that McMath is a felon who was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon in March 2008.

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Boystown: Couple Whacked By Pipe During Altercation With "Large Group"

The incident unfolded in the 800 block of West Belmont near Halsted Street, police said. | Google
Two people were assaulted in Boystown late Friday by a group of offenders, including one man who was reportedly armed with a pipe, according to police. No one is in custody. Both victims were reported in stable condition at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, according to a police spokesperson.

Police said a 24-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman were on the sidewalk in the 800 block of West Belmont when they were approached by a “large group of individuals” around 11:50 p.m.

A verbal altercation broke out and one member of the group struck the victims in their heads with a metal object, according to police. Witnesses said the object appeared to be a pipe. The group fled after the attack.

Both victims were taken by ambulance to Masonic. Their injuries are not life-threatening, but one was admitted, according to police.

The primary offender was described as a heavy-set black male who stands about 5’9” tall. He was wearing a black shirt with red shorts.

Area North detectives are investigating, according to a police spokesperson. The incident unfolded as the Boystown area begins its annual 10-day-long Pride celebration.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Red Line: "Vicious" Attack On Senior Citizen Has Cops Asking For Help; Victim May Lose Eyesight

UPDATE JUNE 15, 2018, 5:07PM — Chicago police just announced that the suspect is in custody. “Thank you to you the public and everyone for your assistance in finding this suspect. The partnership between the Police and community works and this is just the most recent example,” the department said in a Tweet. “After posting this wanted offender’s information to the public and on our social media platforms, a suspect is now in custody and charges are pending in this aggravated battery of a senior.” CWBChicago will update you as developments emerge. Our original report follows.
The man attacks a senior citizen as she reads her Kindle on the Red Line. | Chicago Police Department
Chicago cops are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who “viciously” attacked a senior citizen aboard a North Side Red Line train yesterday. The woman may lose her eyesight as a result of the attack, CPD Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi said. Images of the suspect, released by CPD on Friday afternoon, are shared throughout this report.

Around noontime on Thursday, a female senior citizen was reading her Kindle on a northbound Red Line train when the offender approached her and “completely unprovoked, viciously punched her in the face causing serious injury to her eye,” police said in a community alert.

Police said the offender exited the train at the Jarvis station.

Police say the man exited the train at Jarvis.  | Chicago Police Department
The man is described as black, in his 20’s, about 5’8” tall, 160-180 pounds, with short black hair. He was wearing a blue t-shirt with the word “Illinois” on its front with jeans, brown shoes, and a backpack.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Area North detectives at 312-744-8266.

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Uptown: Cops Find Carjacked Jeep, But Victim Won't Pursue Charges

Around 8 o’clock last night, Chicago police in Uptown located a Jeep that was reportedly taken in an armed carjacking earlier this week. Three adults and four children were inside. But, despite the officers’ best efforts, no charges will be filed because the victim refused to sign complaints, according to CPD’s Office of News Affairs.

Around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a 40-year-old man told police that four to five offenders pulled out a handgun and took his white 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee in the 800 block of South California in the Garfield Park neighborhood, police said.

Officers on routine patrol crossed paths with the SUV last night in the 4600 block of North Broadway. After confirming that the Jeep was stolen, officers pulled it over.

Cops detained two men and a woman who were inside the car. Four children who were riding in the Jeep were turned over to a relative, according to police.

But two of the three adults were released without being charged because the victim refused to sign complaints, a police spokesman said early today.  Traffic citations were issued to the third adult who was also released. Police did not say why the victim refused to press charges.

As of Wednesday, 301 carjackings had been reported in Chicago this year, according to data compiled by HeyJackass.com. By comparison, only 115 carjackings were reported through June 13, 2014.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Teen Charged In Bucktown Carjacking Was Accused Of Robbing 80-Year-Old In Lincoln Park Last Summer

Last September, he and a sixteen-year-old accomplice were charged with knocking an elderly woman to the ground and stealing her purse in Lincoln Park.

Yesterday, he and a different teen were charged with carjacking a woman in Bucktown and crashing her car a short distance away.

In both cases, the 17-year-old was charged as a juvenile. Authorities have not named any of the accused teenagers because their identities are shielded by state law due to their ages.

On September 12 last year, witnesses said the teen and another boy had some type of handle or baton in their hand when they knocked an 80-year-old woman down in the 1400 block of West Lill around 5:20 p.m. After taking the woman’s cream-colored purse, the duo fled south in the alley that runs adjacent to Southport and then ran into Southport Avenue itself. They managed to get away.

Police later shared a surveillance image of two suspects running down an alley after the crime. The teens’ parents saw the photo on TV and turned the boys over to police at Area North headquarters.

Both teens were charged with felony robbery of a person over age 60 and felony aggravated battery of a person over age 60.

After the teens were arrested, a woman who tried to catch the suspects told the Chicago Tribune, ”I’m hoping that there’s a way they are going to punish them that’s not going to ruin their lives.”

Now, nine months later, one of those two teenagers is charged with carjacking a 29-year-old woman as she got out of her car in the 1600 block of North Claremont yesterday afternoon. The woman was thrown to the ground by one of two robbers who then sped off in her car.

A few minutes later, the duo was taken into custody after crashing the woman’s car in the 3000 block of West Grand. The second person charged in the carjacking is also a 17-year-old male, police said.

No public information was available about the status of last September’s robbery case, but there is undoubtedly one teenager worth keeping an eye on as he approaches legal adulthood at the age of eighteen.

(Editors note: Other outlets have erroneously reported that the 80-year-old woman was robbed on Altgeld Street. The correct address is on Lill Avenue, per police records.)

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