Saturday, July 12, 2014

ROBBER HOLDS BABY AT GUNPOINT: But There Are No Cops To Search For The Offender (Thanks, Alderman!)

Jeepers. Lincoln Park Alderman Michele Smith almost blew a valve yesterday afternoon following (gasp!) two robberies in her ward within 3 hours.

She even sent out an email about one of the robberies in which a young mother was robbed of her phone and wedding ring at gunpoint.

The alderman failed to mention a couple of things. First, that the gunman aimed his weapon at the child during the robbery and, second, that there were no officers available to assist the responding unit search for the offender.

Good Lord almighty, Michele! Who in the world voted to allow our police department's staffing to dwindle so far? Who was it that told her constituents that merging two police districts here two years ago would have “no impact on the level of policing," and then watched silently as the district shed 25% of its officers?

Oh, that's right. It was you. Nicely done, alderman. Strap yourself in for this.

Two hours after employees were rustled at gunpoint into the basement of a Clark Street jewelry store by three robbers yesterday afternoon, a young mother was robbed at gunpoint less than a mile away at Mildred and Wrightwood.

The woman was pushing her baby home through an alley when a gunman approached, pointed a gun at the stroller, and took the victim's iPhone and wedding ring.

The 19th district had exactly one available car at that point. They responded quickly, gathered initial information, and asked to have a regular patrol car come over to handle the paperwork. One problem: There was no patrol car available. We quote:
Dispatcher: "I'm sorry. Right now I don’t have anybody. If you can just hold it down for a few more minutes [the afternoon shift] should be coming out [of roll call] in the next 10 or 12 minutes, sir. I’m sorry.”
Officer: "Well, this victim has a baby in a stroller, so that means we will not be [searching] the area [for the offender] until…car gets here.”
Dispatcher: "Oh, that’s really gonna mess it up."
Indeed. Hey, thanks a ton, Michele.

After seven minutes of waiting, the victim's husband arrived and the officers set off on a much-delayed hunt for a gunman who was long gone.

The man who held up the young mother is described as Hispanic, in his 20's, with short hair, short in height, wearing a gray or green hoodie and dark pants. He was armed with a black semi-automatic handgun, may have had a black shoulder bag or backpack, and was last seen running eastbound through the alley behind Wrightwood.

In the robbery of Holtzmann's Jewelry Store, the three offenders are described as:
1) male, black, wearing a black t-shirt
2) female, black, glasses, wearing a brown top
3) male, black, wearing a white striped dress shirt
At least one of the jewelry store offenders was armed with a handgun.

In her email to constituents on Friday, Alderman Smith twice mentioned that she is in close and/or constant contact with the police commander. Swell. Maybe she could try getting in touch with reality and demand that the commander be given the manpower he needs to protect her constituents.

Alderman Smith's ward saw 48 robberies in the first six months of this year, one shy of the 49 it recorded during the same period in 2013. A 2% drop.

Other areas of the city have enjoyed the blessings of last winter's Polar Vortex, with the city showing an overall 16% decline in robberies year-to-date. Wrigleyville and Boystown's robbery pace is at a 7-year low, down 34% year-over year.
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  1. The millions of dollars spent on these puppet aldermen would be much better used for increasing the police force. I've never seen such a waste of money.

    Speaking of millions being spent, riding along the lake you can see the millions of dollars being spent on screwing up Northerly Island, Queen Daley's park and bike path projects.

    And when the next election rolls around…it will be same old same old.

  2. Hey CWB, bet you didn’t find Alderman Smith in her office. If you not a developer or North Shore contributor, fogettaboutit.

  3. CWB, according to your graph “Decline in Officers Assigned to the 19th,” when Ald Smith PROMISED the merging of police districts 19 and 23 would have “NO IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF POLICING,” there was a total of 468 police.

    But by March 2014, your graph shows it had only 340. That’s 128 less police! 27% less! And on school days when the 19th police are parked in Uptown on “Safe Passage Assignment,” it’s even worse!

    Seems to me the criminals have free-range and we’re sitting ducks!

    1. As of July 2014, Police manpower for 019, is down to 315 Police Officers!

      A few more are retiring, more are transferring out due to long commutes to work, some got lucky and promoted this summer and by the end of this year, too!

      How many bodies does anyone believe are going to be replaced with fresh, young bloods?

    2. I'm wondering how many (dead) bodies are going to show up in our neighborhood before public outrage DEMANDS more cops, or at least Rahm & Tunny's heads on a stick.

  4. Excellent reporting CWB! For clarification, where did Mr. Tunney stand with the merger?

    1. Mr. Tunney and his office assured residents that the merger would have no ill effects.

      “The total number of officers in the district will stay in place, non-sworn personnel working in the district will be reduced and there will be more sworn officers on the street. There will also be the same number of [patrol] cars." —Bennett Lawson, Chief of Staff for 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney (TIP: The old districts had 18 police beats. The merged district has 15. Same number of patrol cars? Mmmm. Not so much.)

      You can see a variety of quotes and promises from area alderman, the police superintendent, and the department's press office at the following link:

    2. Between Bennett ($68K salary) and Tommy Teeney Tunney ($106K salary) - we never get anything more than "The alderman is looking in to it" or "I'll put the email on the alderman's desk" or some equally banal horseshit. I have never seen any alderman in the office, just intern types who are nice kids but clueless on anything related to city government and services. But the aldermen seem to be good at trying to pump sunshine up our skirts with such statements as "the merger would have no ill effects." I'm so sick of these moronic approaches to customer service and "governing" our ward. Yes, Chicago could lose all the aldermen, save millions, and do something productive like HIRE MORE GODDAMN POLICE OFFICERS.

  5. Before the City Council voted on the Budget, I called Alderman Smith’s office to ask for more police. I explained about RAPS, the shortage, and that Beats 1932 and 1935 south of Diversey sometimes don’t have patrol cars assigned overnight. Her chief of staff told me “Alderman Smith was working very hard to get more police.” Then she voted for less police? That’s wrong.

  6. Alderman Smith is having the police commander stage the 19th District roll call at Wrightwood and Mildred on July 16th at 6PM. It’s a stunt, a very dangerous stunt as all the police will be at the southern end of the 19th police district. Wrigleyville, Boystown, Belmont, Lake View, CTA, Montrose, Uptown: You’re on your own! Good luck with that.

  7. Glad that CWB is leading this morning with this news from North Lincoln Park. I live in LP just south of Diversey, in fact in the building located between where Tunney lives and where Smith used to live (think about that, and we still are understaffed around here!), and have been pointing out the slowly growing crime in this community directly adjacent to the CWB core territory.

    So now, in broad daylight, it isn't a car window getting busted out on Cannon Drive. It is a very major armed robbery (reportedly $2000,000 in goods taken from the jewelry store) and a mother pushing a baby in a stroller getting a gun pulled on her.

    I voted for Michele, given the option in 2011, but have not been even remotely impressed. Hopefully she will have a serious opponent next year so we have a chance to hold her accountable.

    1. thank you for sticking us with this idiot....

  8. Not enough money to hire enough police. Not enough money to pay for police and fire pensions.

    But plenty of money to pay for massive public works projects. $55 MIL for Maggie Daley park? $100 MIL for the DePaul Stadium? (Seriously? For a PRIVATE school?? Separation of church and state??? HELLOOOOO). $13 MIL for a Whole Foods in Englewood? (Can I use my Link Card for those $20 pound steaks?)

    Construction projects equals big campaign contributions from construction companies.

    Hire more police? Ain't no percentage in that.

    And guns to protect yourself? Those are only for hill-billies with tattoos. There is never any need for those here in Lincoln Park.

    All of this is Rahmbo-tu-tu's agenda.

    And Michele Smith supports him every step of the way.

    1. I don't think you understand "separation of church and state". It has nothing to do with what you're talking about.

    2. Maybe not, but I sure recognize large scale financial mis-management when I see it.

  9. This is one of the most well-written pieces I have ever seen on the CWB blog! Nail that alderman to the cross.
    Hold her accountable. Hold any of them accountable who were a part of that idiotic "merger" of districts that wouldn't (ha!) result in reduction of police resources.

    1. She is all Rahm all the time. Like Rahm she owes her allegiance to the north shore money lenders and the developers. She voted against more cops because mayor pay to play told her do. She went with the Rahm buddies with children's. She thinks she can buy the election with Rahms PAC. She doesn't care about the people.

    2. DITT0!

      Her tweet about this:

      Ald. Michele Smith ‏@AldermanSmith43

      @rnowak2 Police responded immediately, and we will keep you updated. Please call 911 should you witness anything suspicious.


      Additionally, as mentioned in a previous email alert, on Monday, July 14th, there will be a 19th District CAPS meeting for Beat 1932. The meeting is at 7:00 pm at New Life Church, located at 1110 W. Lill Avenue. I am attending and I would encourage you to join me.

      I look forward to seeing you on both Monday and Wednesday to take a stand against crime in the 43rd Ward. In addition, should you witness any suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, here are the following steps that you can take to assist the authorities:

      Hey-- we fully STAND against crime! The feckless recklessness of the city/police/aldermanic agenda and actions STINK -- do your job! This is calamitous cronyism. Unaccountability, image, showy projects, tourism and spin rule .. public safety/crime, other than Jesse's area, seem to be the lowest of priorities with these nutjobs.

      What holy terror for that poor Mom with babe in carriage. There are also so many nannies, some foreign, pushing carriages in the neighborhood, strolling, shopping .. no one's safe. Wincing at the thought of the potential for a horrendous tragedy.

      Wake up, Tunney and Smith! Rahm's monarchy and your serfdom must end.

      For the squeaky wheels:

      Alderman Michele Smith

      43rd Ward Office
      2523 N. Halsted
      Chicago, IL 60614-2539
      M 9am - 7pm, Tu-Th 9am - 6pm,
      F 9am - 12pm & 2pm - 6pm
      Fax: 773-348-9594

      43rd Ward City Hall Office
      121 N. LaSalle Room 300
      Chicago, IL 60602


  10. Alderman Cappleman told me at the last caps meeting that the job is getting done fine, and we don't need more police officers. I asked him how it was fair that the 19th District manpower is down over 25%, and the citywide average is about 5%. He then told me that he is a social worker, and he doesn't feel that he is qualified to tell the police superintendent how to allocate his manpower. I told him that we would lose good police officers because of 'burnout', and, furthermore, it is just plain dangerous for the citizens and the officers to be so understaffed. He again rejected the suggestion that he go to McCarthy, along with every other alderman who has a piece of the 19th District in his/her ward and tell the superintendent that the situation has reached a very dangerous tipping point, quit fooling around and get some more personnel here. He, once again, told me crime is down, and the job is getting done with the personnel we have. This guy is not a friend of the police officers in the 19th District, or the citizens of the 19th District. It seems he is only concerned with what is happening in Uptown. Jim (Rahm) Jone has gotten him to drink the Kool-Aid.

  11. When I was in my 20s I managed a Bennigans. One of the first things we were taught is to never let anyone pointing a gun at you move you anywhere. You are better off taking your chances and running. Far too many moved employees end up dead.

    1. And look what happened to Bennigans...

  12. Where the hell were the tact cars? Probably in on a trespassing arrest of a homeless guy to get the silly stats or maybe they were already gone for the day.

  13. It is a sad statement that residents in our area need to rely on blogs (and other so-called 'non-official' media sources) to obtain the full facts of the case. In this instance, 5 gold stars to CWB for accurately including a detailed description of the suspects....many news outlets, such as WGN news at 9PM last night, failed to include that tidbit of information.

    Whether this is journalistic incompetence or political correctness run amok, I suppose that is for all of us to decide. Thankfully there are sites like this in existence where we can go for the no-BS line of facts on incidents in our neighborhood. Nice work, as always.

    1. Thank you, anonymous. We believe that providing descriptions as fully as possible is important. Our belief is that information is GOOD. In these cases, for instance, someone could recall "oh, remember those three people who almost trampled over us on the sidewalk and jumped into that car one block from the robbery?" "Oh, yeah. Maybe we should tell the police about that."

      Or, "OH! I saw a guy with a backpack matching that description pass by me in the alley as I took out the trash on that block of Wrightwood. I saw him hop that fence. Maybe I should tell the police about that."

      Long shots? Yes, as all long-after-the-fact descriptions are. But compare it to the complete uselessness of "no detailed description was available."

    2. 5 gold stars to CWB for accurately including a detailed description of the suspects

      ~ ~ ~ ~

      AMEN! Thank you .. thank God ..for CWB! You all continually outdo yourselves in professionalism and accuracy, and shame and outshine all local news media in the TRUTH..

  14. Maybe we should do WANTED POSTERS like you used to see at the post offices.
    Drawings of the criminals on the posters.
    Ask local businesses and libraries to put the posters in their windows.
    When the tourists see WANTED POSTERS all over the place, Rahm will have to do something.

    Also, moms get a ton of attention, so ask this mom to tell her story on ABC, NBC, CBS, WGN, FOX, and the radio stations. Let this victim tell her story and demand Rahm do his job!!!

    1. Maybe some UNwanted posters featuring our elected officials?

    2. With all of the surveillance cameras in place around the city in stores, building exteriors, CTA property, and POD cameras, why isn't the Chicago Police Department publicizing the photographs of the violent criminal predators who are preying in our neighborhoods?

    3. I like the idea of UNWANTED posters! I am sick of our worthless, rubber-stamping aldermen. Why incur the expense of all of them when all they do is what DICKtator, Rahm, tells them to do!

  15. Thank you for reporting on this. I'm fairly certain there have been some assaults in the area this year too.

    One thing I'd point out is there is senior housing run by CHA on the corner of Lincoln and Sheffield. There are a lot of people I've seen around there that don't look like seniors at all. Not sure if they enforce the age policy or not, but there seems to always be a lot of noise around there at night with people drinking and loitering.

  16. Some interesting things stated in the DNA Info article that don't sound quite right...

    "The witness then called 911 and said officers responded to the scene very quickly." - Quickly defined as what? Not at all what has been reported elsewhere.

    "The witness said the woman, who was pushing her young child in a stroller, told police the suspect pointed the gun at the stroller during the robbery. Smith's email did not include details about a child being present." - Apparently it was the witness who told police about the stroller. And note that DNA, like CWB, isn't going with the company line regards Michele's selective information in the email.

    "Police patrols have increased around the area, Smith said." - Really, Michele? Please quantify given the reduction in officers in this area

    1. The first unit did arrive quickly. The problem is, there weren't more units to do things police used to do, like *search for the offender.*

      The first officers on scene stayed on-scene rather than search because they, wisely, did not want to leave the baby and mother alone.

    2. That's what bothers me most when reading this story. There seems to be little urgency to search for a person who pointed a gun at a child in a stroller. Like I understand not sending a bunch of units out in search of a pickpocketer, but a guy who points a gun at a child is someone that should be a top priority.

      Are they not able to bring in units from other districts? I mean what if some guy started shooting? Do we have one unit to handle that by themself?

    3. You don't seem to understand that all units are busy means all units are busy. Even if it is something as mundane as a traffic accident most likely if that unit were to tell the parties that they would be right back there was a robbery in the area the police would be on the line for discipline for leaving their job. As to the other district part, you have logistical problems, officers from 18 do not know the streets of 19 because they don't patrol them. Officers from 18 might see an offender on saint James but not know where they are at, plus their radio zone doesn't play over 19's zone... All kinds of safety issues there

  17. That would be Alderperson.......

    1. darc!, that would be incorrect. All members of Chicago City Council are know as Aldermen. See below from the email sent by the Alderman announcing the holdup in broad daylight in her ward.


      Michele Signature

      Michele Smith

      43rd Ward Alderman

    2. And what is Alderman Smith's solution? Here is one taken from her email blast.

      "As part of these efforts, I have requested the 19th District conduct what is known as a public "Roll Call" in the coming week. This action, involving the staging of all police officers on the duty roster for a particular shift as they are given their patrol instructions by the Watch Commander, will further send a message to those that wish to commit violent acts against area residents - namely, that such activity will not be tolerated in the 43rd Ward."

      I hope she notifies the gangbangers as well so that they won't t miss the roll call. I don't believe they live around here.
      Pathetic! Ridiculous!

    3. “Alderpuppet” would be more accurate.

    4. Maybe someone should inform the aldercreature that due to Rahm's slashing of the police that there is no position of "watch commander" anymore... It is now a district station supervisor...

  18. Smith is a complete idiot! Plus a liar...she will tell anyone anything to get re-elected.
    She preaches transparency and then does whatever she wants without consulting residents.
    The death of the busnesses on Lincoln Avenue lies at her feet for holding up the development of CMH for two years.

  19. Some one needs to correct these politicians who keep repeating Rahm and McCarthy's lie that crime is down. The only decrease has occurred in the number of police reports filed for crime. And the decrease in the numbers of reported crimes has been fully orchestrated by the police chief and the mayor. There is no shortage of evidence both hard and anecdotal many serious offenses are incorrectly coded as lesser offenses. There is a tremendous amount of pressure from the top down on officers to decrease the frequency of coding some offenses and when the officers do not do so it is not unheard of that their supervisors will change the coding themselves.
    Also, as has been illustrated on this blog, many more crimes simply go unreported because despite an initial effort by the victim to engage the police department and file a report. If you were robbed on the street how long would you feel comfortable\safe waiting around for someone to show up in response to your emergency call to 911? Most of us would hope for a fairly prompt response however as anyone who reads this blog knows, due to the frequency of Rap s the time it takes for CPD to respond far too often exceeds the time a victim is willing to wait. Essentially the current state of affairs in the CPD (which is a result of the fine leadership of McCarthy and Rahm) has a profound negative impact upon the number of crimes that are reported. This is exactly what Rahm and McCarthy intended to be the result.
    Some might claim they are cooking the books or in other word manipulating and influencing the raw data. Frankly, I can not see how what they are doing is not consider fraud upon the citizens of Chicago and why they are not being held accountable in a court of law.

    Another final example of their "crime fighting strategies" have been their efforts to decrease the number of homicides that are recorded as such in Chicago each year. Their focus has not been so much on decreasing the number of people killed in the city each year rather their efforts are focused on the number of people they have to report as homicides in the city. Under the fine leadership of these fools, they have decided that any murders that occur on our city expressway systems, despite being within the city limits, will not count toward our annual murder tally. Also their use of death investigations to also lower the numbers of reported homicides.
    So i guess the bottom line is crime is not down but that is not news to those of us who have walked these streets for many years and know better. They have simply artificially and purposefully lowered the number of crimes reported.
    There is a difference and it involves our safety.. Why are these two not in jail or on trial instead of remaining in their positions?

  20. Rahm & McCarthy are not feeling the heat for cooking Chicago's crime books because there is no community outrage except on these blogs. The rage never leaves the computer keyboard. Until the neighborhood residents get off their asses and start marching en masse, nothing will happen.

    To a certain extent Rahm's hands are tied - Chicago is BROKE. Money must be spent on the outrageous retirement benefits of city workers and glittery things for tourists. Your property taxes will be going up and still not a thing will change. There is no money. You can thank Daley and all the "yes men" aldermen for that.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Anonymous.

      The public should never forget—or, perhaps, should be informed of—the reason for this pension mess: Our elected officials chose not to contribute the government's portions of the pension payments when they should have. Rather, they spent that money on things long-since forgotten. The pensions that workers are owed were (1) agreed to by the government and (2) earned by the employees. The demons here are the elected officials—including your handy, dandy local alderman—not the working people.

    2. Vote anti-incumbent. I can't think of a single politician in Illinois that deserves reelection.

    3. I agree with the "vote anti-incumbent" statement. I think it may be our only chance of survival as a city and community. God help us all.

  21. I have to agree that Alderman Smith should not be ordering the police to do a public roll call at the intersection of Wrightwood and Mildred streets. It is a stunt. She must think publicity stunts will get her reelected. They won't, not in Lincoln Park.

    I’ve lived here for 71 years and let me tell you, we have never had an alderman as egotistical and self-serving as Michele Smith!

    For three years, neighbors have been trying to wake her to the increasing crime situation but she’s been either deaf or asleep.

    Since Smith was elected [winning by only 227 votes] we have 25% less police. For three years Smith allowed our police force to be whittled away. For three years she said NOTHING and did NOTHING!

    Lincoln Park doesn’t want stunts. We want substance. We want results. We want a real alderman, one we can talk to, one who shows up for work, one who’s not always hiding from her constituents.

    We want our police department adequately staffed. We want our police on the street. We want the criminals caught!

  22. Sun Times:

    If the mayoral election were held today, the lightning rod union leader who was the architect behind a 2012 teachers’ strike would beat Emanuel by 9 percentage points in a head-to-head contest, the survey found.

    Lewis was leading Emanuel 45 percent to 36 percent with 18 percent of the likely voters undecided.

    And Emanuel could face an even steeper hill if he faces Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, long considered his most formidable challenger.

    A head-to-head contest found Preckwinkle romping Emanuel by a stunning 24 points.

    Preckwinkle dominated with 55 percent of those surveyed. Emanuel notched just under 31 percent.

    “Laughable” is what Emanuel’s camp called the results of the automated telephone poll, conducted for the Sun-Times’ political portal by We Ask America.
    Perhaps Rahm forgot the saying, "He who laughs last, laughs best."

  23. Good Job CWB on reporting. Blogs always seem to do it better than actual newspapers because of red tape and I think it's great for community building. You can't trust the government. But you can build a community. As for Lincoln Park---the ward was due to be split up among other wards, before Smith fought to keep it together. I do not agree with her egotistical style of management--but then again, look at the ego-filled ward she is in. Birds of a feather, perhaps. These comments are all pretty amusing. And how quickly we forget that Lincoln Park was a violence ridden hell hole less than 25 years ago............perhaps people should get some perspective and start taking more initiative to get involved and help their community (a group of "normal" looking citizens could probably do a lot more than 1 police car in finding the perpetrator) than complaining about elected officials who always have and will always be puppets. "We are defined by our actions, not by our words."

  24. Yeah if that robbery was on the western side of Wrightwood/Mildred, it was within 500 feet of my garage. Good thing I was at the landmarks commission meeting...listening to that midget Tunney bitch and moan about the Wrigley renovations. Raffy Leon shut him down mighty quick.

    Crane Kenney/Ricketts and the Commission got the last laugh over Tunney and that goofball lawyer the rooftop owners trotted out.

  25. Thanks to all of you that voted Smith into office. You deserve what you got. She is in way over her head, tells anyone what they want hear.
    For the elections in 2015, ABMS, anybody but Michele Smith.....

  26. Remember Alderman Smith believes guns have no place in our utopia and all you need is a sticker in the window of your business or maybe on your person that says that gun are not allowed so you can stay safe. Keep repeating the same lies until the citizens finally figure out that the emperor has no clothes.