Monday, June 24, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Belmont Victims Stabbed During Long Wait For Police; No Cops Available For 10+ Minutes

This morning, Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown has developed exclusive and gut wrenching details of Sunday morning’s mob attack and double stabbing near the Belmont Red Line station, 945 W. Belmont.

CWB has learned that the stabbings and beatings could have been prevented if police officers had promptly responded to the future victims' 911 call of an attempted cell phone theft. Shockingly, no officers were available to answer the call for help. For many long minutes, the two victims detained three phone thieves with the belief that police were on the way. The police never were.

The police department’s own spokesman told DNAinfo that the two soon-to-be victims were sitting on a curb near the L station when three males snatched one of their cell phones. The two victims pursued the thieves, caught them, and dialed 911.

Now, CWB can exclusively report the rest of the tragic story.

Police dispatchers broadcast the phone owner's call to the district at 5:11AM as a cell phone theft or robbery with someone "holding the offender," which means exactly what it says. We now know that the persons who were holding the offenders were soon to become the victims of a vicious mob attack.

Even though the theft and “holding the offender” call was broadcast at 5:11AM, not one officer was available to respond. About 10 minutes later, the dispatcher mentioned the cell phone theft and “holding the offender” again during a run down of calls that needed police action. Again, no one took the call.

It was during that estimated 10-plus minute delay that a mob of up to 30 people approached the victims and the detained thieves, then began the attack that ended with two stabbings.

CWB can also now reveal that the CTA didn't have a single transit officer on duty on the North Side Sunday morning. Many nights, the CTA uses its transit officers to protect stations that are shuttered during the South Side Red Line construction project.

It Happens All of The Time
The 19th district runs out of cops and crime victims go without help on a regular basis, especially on weekend nights. The police department even has a name for situations when districts have no cops available. They're called RAPs, which stands for Radio Assignments Pending.

Our district was under its second RAP of Sunday morning when the cell phone theft was called in at 5:11AM. The first RAP, declared around 2:40AM, lasted nearly 20 minutes.

RAPs are the result of gross understaffing in the 19th district, which has at least 25% fewer police officers today than it did in March of last year. Some of our officers have retired and quit without being replaced. Other officers have been pulled out of our neighborhood to work on units that cover the entire North Side of Chicago.

Now You Know One of the Reasons That "Crime Is Down" 
And, then, there's this:  RAPs help create our politicians' illusion of crime being "down." And, yes, police department leaders are politicians in every sense of the word. 

It's deviously simple. The only crimes that are included in the police department's crime statistics are crimes that are recorded in formal police reports. If there is no report, there isn't a crime for the statistics.

Fewer cops available means responses are slower or non-existent. Slower responses increase the likelihood that victims will give up on filing a report, especially for minor crimes that have seen huge drops in reported cases. 

No report or no response means "no crime occurred," so the crime isn't counted.

Lather. RAP. Repeat. Before long—Shazam!—crime is “down!”

The truly disgusting part is that it's actually in our politicians' personal interest not to fix the understaffing problem. If they fix it, more officers will be available, and then more reports will be filed, and crime will "go up." They can't have that at election time.

We actually keep a list of robberies that were reported to 911 in Wrigleyville and Boystown that will never show up in the crime count. Sometimes it’s because victims don't want to bother with a report. But other times it’s because the police never showed up to help a citizen in need.

UPDATED 24 JUNE 2013: Rewrote second paragraph in an effort to unbury the lead.

UPDATED 26 JUNE 2013: Charges have been filed in the attack.


  1. "Holding the offender" is just stupid. Gouge his eyes out and take off...he won't be stealing any more phones.

  2. Thanks for writing this. Careful: "Viola" is an instrument. "Voila" is the word you're looking for...

  3. DKNJ-Argh! I told those guys that they should have used "Shazam" instead. I'm gonna fix that right now. Thanks for your kind words and keeping an eye on us. We appreciate your readership.

  4. Found your site through a SCC comment thought I would check it out. If you want crime down Everyone should be fighting to get a conceal carry bill passed that would help everyone. The law the Gov. has now has many restictions in it and is going to be expensive to obtain a permit. If your afraid of firearms try going to a suburban firearms dealer and check it out. Many will rent you a firearm and help you learn about using it safley. I have taught people that were afraid at first how to shot safley and in the end they were happy they learned and purchased firearms. EVEYONE needs to learn how to protect themself.

  5. Good reporting CWB.

  6. Thank you for your kind words, Anonymous above.

    We also appreciate you. Thank you for reading our work and thank you for participating in the conversation.

    Be safe and be well.

  7. I can't find your contact information of whoever writes this blog but I just want to THANK YOU for keeping this blog up on a regular basis. GREAT! The Blackhawks just won. Can't wait to see what the neighborhood will look like tonight! I'm a 32 year old woman who lives and works in the neighborhood and who basically grew up here for over half of my life. What's going on right now is a disgrace and those of us who pay taxes get angrier and angrier every day with every incident we hear about. My good friends got jumped for no reason Saturday night. This really hit home for me and I've read your blog through and through since then. I'm so angry. I want to start a rally in the neighborhood. I've never been the "activist type" but I'm beginning to understand those people now. What can we do? I walk to work 3-4 nights out of the week at a bar I've worked at for over a decade in the neighborhood and I'm oficially scared to walk to work to start my 11pm shift at night, let alone leave the bar by 5am. I've never ever felt like this before. What can we do? This must stop. We must take action to stop the neighborhood going down the drain!! Thank you for keeping this in the spotlight and please continue to do so the way that you have so far!

  8. Anonymous,

    Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your experiences here.

    All of us at CWB have either been the victims of a violent crime in the neighborhood or we have close friends or partners who have been victimized. Some of us fall into both of those categories.

    The situation must be especially worrisome for you and others like you who must be on the streets late so you can go to and from the job you love.

    Be safe and be well.

  9. I am so grateful you have created this blog! It is a lifesaver and wake-up call for those of us concerned about our neighborhood and community. I have written to all the major local media networks about this dilemma and have heard nothing back. The only coverage were the stabbings at the Belmont L stop. I am not sure why this situation is not receiving the media coverage it deserves. This is becoming a hotbed for disaster economically, politically and socially. If this spills into precious Wrigley Field, I bet some action will be taken. It seems since everything is drying up on the south and west sides, this "element" is finding easy picking in our neighborhood. These youth programs have become nothing but a cover for barbaric activity. I wonder why Jesse Jackson is so silent?

  10. Tom Tunney's office at it's finest...about time he does something for our community as opposed to only the Cubs...guarantee if this happened on Addison & Clark Street the police would have responded within minutes.

  11. "Rahm say Sunday’s gay pride parade will have added significance"

    This stupid publicity hound of a mayor can focus on Boystown when it suits him for his social agenda, but hides behind the drapes and slashes police 25% when it comes to its violence.

  12. You have great mix of dispatchersjmho if officers aren't waiting for cars at shift change and the box you know what a box is good for police assignments not one I heard just hour ago fine officer had 2 people stabbed but neither life threatening no one wanted to press charges so let's make this a houdini