Monday, November 24, 2014

THE CREEP: Street Crime Has Come Back To Roost

A three year streak of record-high robbery rates and violent street crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown was snapped this year, bringing the neighborhood back to mugging levels last seen in 2007.

Every month this summer saw fewer robberies than the month before. The improvement stalled last month and it now seems to be in full reverse as the neighborhood has racked up over a dozen muggings since last Saturday—launching us past the total for the entire month of November last year.

In retrospect, the tide started to turn in mid-October. Five robberies in three hours on the morning of the 18th. Five more the next weekend. Then, another five last weekend and seven more on the weekend that just concluded. (Those numbers don't even count the muggings that took place on the other side of Belmont, the southern end of the area we use for neighborhood stats.)

What has happened?  Are the police still making those street stops that worked so well this summer? Is there a robbery mission team up and running at night? Are the alleys being prowled by cops instead of just the criminals?

Those are the things that need to happen all of the time, not just until the bean counters see a few months of improvement. But maintaining that activity requires manpower and this district—stripped of 25% of its officers in three years—no longer has the manpower to maintain pressure here while also keeping a lid on Uptown and looking for burglars in Ravenswood.

Saturday evening, every patrol car in the 19th district was manned by a single officer. (Uptown’s beat 1913 was the the only car with two officers.) Our officers were going it alone. That meant that two cars had to be tied up on most calls because solo officers need back-up.


To their credit, the Chicago Police Department has issued three separate robbery alerts for our area over the past 10 days—revealing that a couple of incidents here and a couple of incidents there seem to be connected.

True to form, the mainstream media pretty much did a copy-paste on those and called it “reporting.” They report on an alert for the two robberies in an alert when there's actually been more than a dozen victims.

Real reporters should connect the obvious dots. "Why have there been three alerts in that one neighborhood? Maybe there’s a bigger story here that we should dig into?"

Nah. That'd require them to question authority. And talk to people who aren't professional spokespersons.

We're on the edge of our seats, just waiting for a politician or police spokesvoice to brush over this month's disaster by calling it an "uptick" or pulling out the "crime is down" chestnut. You know it's coming.
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  1. I saw the two robberies being duly reported on the weekend news but knew the real story thanks to CWB.
    However I must have missed the segment that included Ald. Tom Tunney and local business council leaders not just deploring the crime wave but banging the damn drum in front of the cameras DEMANDING more police, urging crime victims to step forward, issuing a warning for visitors to the area to be cautious during late night/early morning hours, and most importantly (from a crime prevention perspective), acknowledging the crime wave.
    There comes a point in time when simply ignoring the issue becomes complicit in the issue.
    Ald. Tunney, you're horrific on the crime issue in Lakeview!
    You can't simply just make your sticky buns ALL the time. Do something!

    1. This February vote him out of office. He will be him out. It's a start.

    2. Vote Rahm out too.

  2. Have no fear, Tunney is looking into it.

  3. Just checked Ald. Tunney's website to see what he had to saw about the recent crime wave.
    Nothing, for anyone interested.
    But I did notice that his aldermanic website carries a link to Everyblock for crime news under Ward Safety.
    With all due respect to Everyblock, wouldn't it be advantageous for Tunney to link to CWB for timely, accurate crime news instead of the bare bone E/B site?
    I mean, there's no comparison in news.

  4. Are we all going to stand by and slam the Alderman and say we won't vote for him. It's no longer enough. We need to band together as neighbors and organize and start demanding answers and results. When we get loud enough and create a public relations nightmare for Tunney, Police Department, Mayor etc. maybe as a collective unit we can get things done. I don't have any experience in public organizing but someone in our community must have the experience. It's time we get angry and loud and take back our community from these thugs.

  5. Nothing will happen until people get out and protest in front of his office. The only thing he cares about is bad press (using the term very loosely these days).

  6. There are less good journalists in the city of Chicago than there are honest politicians.

  7. I don't think that the police can solve the robbery problem by just being out on the street, like we see cops as they stand around on Clark and on Halsted. Just being out there won't solve the problem. Shouldn't they be arresting lawbreakers and patrolling the neighborhood looking for the robbers?