Tuesday, February 09, 2016

ANALYSIS: Crime Up Across Lakefront Neighborhoods; Loop Up 33%; Lakeview Up 18%; More...

Was it the warmer weather or an ominous sign of things to come?

Overall crime increased 11% in Chicago's North Side and lakefront neighborhoods last month compared to January 2015, with most areas seeing significant increases in robberies and motor vehicle thefts. That's according to CWB Chicago analysis of crime reports on the city's official data portal.

Yet, narcotics reports plunged across the area, possibly due to a significant drop in police investigative street stops since the Chicago Police Department began requiring officers to document every stop with a two-page form.

Citywide, there were just 864 narcotics reports filed in January, down 62% from the 2,258 filed in January 2015.

Neighborhood Increases

Of the community areas that we analyzed, the Loop saw the greatest increase in crime last month—up a whopping 33%. Burglaries there soared 225%, criminal damage and motor vehicle thefts surged 100%, and robberies jumped 76%, according to city data.

But narcotics cases reported in the Loop dropped 50%.

Lakeview saw the second-greatest crime increase, with an 18.5% jump. Robberies increased 233%, motor vehicle theft rose 140%, and burglaries spiked 80%.

But, again, narcotics cases were down sharply in Lakeview last month—off 67% compared to January 2015.

Other areas that saw double-digit crime increases last month include Lincoln Park, up 15%; River North, up 11%; and Uptown, increasing 10%.

Community AreaCrimes Reported January 2015Crimes Reported January 2016% ChangeLeading increase(s)Leading decrease(s)
Edgewater1531604.58%Motor vehicle theft up 150%; Battery up 135%; Robbery up 120%Narcotics down 70%
Lakeview37344218.50%Robbery up 233%; Motor vehicle theft up 140%; Burglary up 80%Narcotics down 67%
Lincoln Park25429214.96%Robbery up 89%; Motor vehicle theft up 75%Criminal sexual assault down 100%
Lincoln Square153129-15.69%Robbery up 66%; Motor vehicle theft up 42%Burglary down 70%; Narcotics down 63%
Logan Square3773821.33%Robbery up 100%Burglary down 83%
Loop52770633.97%Burglary up 225%; Criminal damage up 100%; Motor vehicle theft up 100%; Robbery up 76%Narcotics down 50%
North Center11297-13.39%Motor vehicle theft up 100%; 1 homicide vs. 0 last yearAssault down 66%; Theft down 48%; Robbery down 43%
River North67875511.36%Burglary up 100%; Criminal sexual assault up 150%; Criminal damage up 100%; Robbery up 50%Prostitution down 67%; Narcotics down 53%
Rogers Park287285-0.70%Burglary up 81%; 2 homicides vs. 0 last yearProstitution down 100%: Narcotics down 79%; Criminal damage down 30%
Uptown23826210.08%Burglary up 100%: Theft up 60%; Motor vehicle theft up 60%Assault down 53%; Narcotics down 50%
Source: City of Chicago Data Portal Crimes 2001 to present


Two neighborhoods bucked the increasing crime trend.

Lincoln Square saw a nearly 16% drop in reported crime and North Center's crime count was down 13%. Rogers Park remained statistically unchanged.

Citywide Trouble

Reports of serious crimes increased across the board citywide last month:
• Homicides up 86%
• Robberies up 31%
• Aggravated batteries up 26%
• Auto thefts up 19%
• Burglaries up 11%
• Arson up 141%
Among the most serious crime categories, only criminal sexual assault saw a decrease in January, dropping 32%.

The Weather?

So is this all attributable to warmer weather? Time will tell. But former police superintendent Garry McCarthy repeatedly claimed that weather had nothing to do with crime reductions on his watch:
[McCarthy] refuted suggestions that the reason violent crime is down is because of the cooler weather this year, by pointing out that six shootings occurred on one of the days of flooding a few weeks ago.
“Weather is an influencer on crime. It’s not a cause, nor does it prevent crime,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy credits strategic policing, strong partnerships with community leaders, aldermen, clergy and residents for the decrease in violent crime, but insists a change in laws is necessary to make a more significant difference.
One wonders how McCarthy, had he not been fired, would explain January.
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Officers Honored For Handling Of 2014 Home Invasion

Officers receiving their commendations at today's ceremony (Chicago Police Department)
Ten current and former 19th district police officers have received commendations for their response to a 2014 home invasion in Roscoe Village.

Lieutenants John K. Riordan and Michael J. Stevens; Sergeants Michael N. Matijevich and Eddie M. Yoshimura; and Officers Daniel Andujar, Frances Cifuentes, Robert W. Elkins, Mazyar Hariri, Wayne R. Keneipp, and Loendri Rodriguez were recognized during a ceremony at police headquarters today.

An officer recovers one of the weapons on September 16, 2014 (Chris Lalla)
Officers were flagged down near Belmont and Ravenswood during the evening rush hour on September 16, 2014, by citizens who saw armed men fleeing the area after committing a home invasion.

Police recovered three weapons and and arrested three offenders, including two who slipped onto a Brown Line train that police intercepted at the Montrose station.

Two arrestees, Garry Wallace and Melvin Wilson, pleaded guilty to robbery in December and received sentences of three and four years respectively.

Bryna Wolowic, who allegedly helped Wallace and Wilson target her own brother in the home invasion, received two years probation last month.
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Monday, February 08, 2016

Local Crime Up 22% This Year, City Data Shows

Crime in Chicago's 44th Ward, which includes most of Wrigleyville and Boystown, is up 22% this year, according to the Chicago Police Department. And the biggest increases have been seen in some of the most serious crimes, including robbery and burglary.

Map of the 44th Ward (Google)
Robberies are up over 300% in the ward, jumping from 7 in January 2015 to 22 this year.

Burglaries—mostly home break-ins—are up over 100%, rising from 16 to 33.

Aggravated batteries jumped from 5 last year to 8.

Less-serious crimes have also seen significant jumps. Criminal damage to property is up over 100%, with 52 cases reported last month compared to 23 in January 2015.

Among the handful of crime categories seeing decreases this year are criminal sexual assault, down from 2 to 1 and narcotics, which saw 2 cases this year compared to 5 in 2015.

Overall, police recorded 322 crimes in the ward during January, up from 264 during the same month last year.

The 44th ward has been represented by Tom Tunney since January 2003.

Robberies Soar In Wrigleyville, Boystown

Wrigleyville and Boystown—which falls largely in the 44th ward, but also stretches into the 46th ward—saw a significant spike in robberies last month, with 18 cases reported. That's more than double last January's count of 8 robberies. It is also one of the three worst Januaries on record for the crime.

The neighborhood recorded a record low robbery count last year, a welcome change in the wake of three consecutive years of record-highs.

But analysis shows that nearly all of last year's improvement came in the first six months, when the neighborhoods saw a 50% drop in muggings. The second half of 2015 recorded only 3 fewer robberies than the same period in 2014, possibly indicating that police efforts to rectify the problem have stalled.

Robberies in Wrigleyville + Boystown By Month And Year
Red denotes the 10 worst months (with ties)Green denotes the 10 best months (with ties)
Source: City of Chicago Data Portal. Current Chicago Police Department beat numbers 1923, 1924, and 1925 constitute "Wrigleyville and Boystown" for statistical purposes. The boundaries are Belmont, Southport, Irving Park, and Lake Michigan.
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Cops: Burglar Busted With 6 Wallets, 19 Watches, And More

(L, R): Fowler and Sessum (Chicago Police Dept)
Two men are facing burglary charges after Chicago police chased them from Avondale into Lincoln Park last Wednesday, eventually capturing the duo near Diversey and Paulina.

Luther Fowler, 44, and Nicholas Sessum, 26, are both charged with two counts of residential burglary, according to court records.

Their alleged break-in of a residence in the 2800 block of N. Rockwell is outside of our normal coverage area, but we found their story noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First, Sessum's arrest came on the day after his parole for a theft conviction ended, according to state records.

And, then, there's volume of property that officers say they found in a pillowcase that Fowler was carrying: 6 wallets; 7 rosaries; 5 boxes of miscellaneous jewelry; 6 pieces of loose jewelry or gems; 19 watches; and a Galaxy Note II.

Curiously, while police say Fowler had 6 wallets in his possession, he did not have his own wallet. Police found that on the roof of a home near the scene of his arrest.

A police report says Fowler is a member of the Latin King street gang. State records show that Sessum has multiple Latin King-affiliated tattoos.

Bond for Fowler is set at $150,000. Sessum's bond information was not immediately available.
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