A pregnant Chicago woman called 911 twice to report that she had been robbed at knifepoint outside a laundromat on Friday evening, but Chicago police never responded. While extended wait times for police responses are common in Chicago, this case is a little different from most.
The woman loaded her clean laundry into her car and prepared to drive away when two men approached her vehicle outside Sparkle Laundry, 6631 South Kedzie, around 10:30 p.m.
One of the men asked her for money and reached through her driver’s side window, and placed a pointed object into her stomach, prosecutors said. He then ripped a gold necklace from the woman’s neck and walked away.
Prosecutors said the woman called her husband, then called Chicago police. The husband showed up within three minutes. The police? Not so much.
CPD dispatch records confirm the woman’s account. A dispatcher read out the robbery call around 10:40 p.m., but because no officers were available to handle the call, the assignment was not given to an officer for over an hour — around 11:45 p.m.
The dispatcher noted that the delayed response was “way over the time” that such calls should be assigned.
By then, the woman had given up on waiting for a police response and she went to the Chicago Lawn (8th) District station to file a report. As she was driving home, the woman saw the robber and the man he was with walking in the 6300 block of South Kedzie.
She pulled a U-turn and flagged down a Chicago police squad car to tell them what happened. Dispatch records indicate that it occurred around midnight.
The cops caught the man, identified by prosecutors as Kevin Hall, 25, after a foot chase. Police also recovered a knife from some bushes nearby, prosecutors said.
Hall was released from prison on September 1 after serving half of two three-year sentences that he received for aggravated battery of police officers, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.
Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered him to pay a $20,000 deposit toward bail to get out of jail. Separately, she held him without bail until IDOC reviews his parole status.
The woman’s experience with Chicago police is neither unique nor unusual. Local patrol districts frequently have more requests for help than they can handle. When calls start to stack up, dispatchers declare a backlog, also known as a RAP or “Radio Assignments Pending” status.
CPD districts entered backlogs 11,721 times last year, according to information Wirepoints obtained via a Freedom of Information request. That was nearly as many times as 2019 and 2020 combined, according to the data.
Last year, 52% of the city’s highest-priority 911 calls were received during backlogs, Wirepoints found.
The Chicago Police Department currently has 11,649 officers on the force, according to the Chicago Office of the Inspector General. That’s down from 12,067 one year ago and 13,163 in October 2019.