CHICAGO — While one Chicago alderman has promised that Chicago police have a “concrete and collaborative plan” to address a relentless surge of armed robbery sprees that has claimed hundreds of victims, the plan—whatever it is—has not slowed down the criminals.
A 12-year-old boy was among the victims targeted in a Sunday afternoon spree. More robberies were reported overnight. And another popped up Saturday afternoon.
The 12-year-old was walking in the 2300 block of West Chicago Avenue when four men demanded his property around 12:25 p.m., a CPD spokesperson said. He was nearing Burger King when the men took his wallet and made him unlock his phone, according to a police report.
Within a few minutes, a man was robbed behind his home in the 1000 block of North Wood in West Town. Two masked men displayed a large firearm during the robbery and fled in a black SUV.
Another victim was robbed in the 1900 block of West Dickens in Bucktown around 12:35 p.m. They lost their wallet, phone, and keys to two armed men who got out of a black SUV, a police report said. A similar robbery was near Artesian and Jackson on the Near West Side just after 1 p.m. That victim was relieved of a chain, a credit card, and his shoes.
At about 2:15 p.m., a couple was robbed near their home in the 2000 block of North Western Avenue in Logan Square.
Officers said the crew appeared to be traveling in a freshly stolen Kia SUV with a broken rear side window. Stolen Kias and Hyundais have been used in many of the robbery sprees across the city. The thieves enter the vehicles by breaking a back window and sliding inside, then head off to commit street robberies.
Three robberies were reported between midnight and 12:30 Monday morning:
In Wicker Park, a 34-year-old man was robbed in the 1400 block of North Wicker Park Avenue around 12:30 a.m., a CPD spokesperson said. He told police that a dark SUV pulled up next to him, and four robbers got out. Two men displayed guns, and one hit the victim in the head with a firearm. He did not need medical attention.
Shortly before that robbery, holdups were reported in the 100 block of North Western Avenue and the 1000 block of South Oakley. Both involved four or five men who jumped out of a silver SUV.
They were described as Black males wearing dark clothing and masks.
More armed robberies were reported on Saturday afternoon:
- in the 2300 block of West Ohio around 3:15 p.m.
- near Chicago Avenue and Washtenaw around 3:55 p.m.
- in the 100 block of North Carpenter around 4:30 p.m.
Those crimes were committed by a crew that traveled in a gray Hyundai SUV with a broken side window. Police said the crew consisted of two or three Black males in their late teens or early 20s who wore masks, hoodies, and dark clothing.
Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st), whose ward includes some of the areas hardest hit by robberies in recent months, addressed the crime pattern in an emailed newsletter on Friday evening.
“It has been a challenging week in the 1st Ward and surrounding communities as a series of robberies has rocked the peace of our neighborhoods and left many feeling scared, angry, and anxious,” wrote La Spata, who represents parts of Logan Square, Wicker Park, and West Town.
“I spoke with the 14th district commander yesterday around this issue to amplify our concerns. While I cannot share their specific strategies publicly – and consequently jeopardize their chance of success – please know that the 12th, 14th, and 25th districts have a concrete and collaborative plan for addressing this issue,” the alderman continued.
In fact, the robbery problem has been ongoing for much longer than a week.
The Shakespeare (14th) District has had 212 robberies this year through July 16, according to CPD’s latest statistics report. That’s 23% higher than last year and 58% higher than 2019.
In the Near West (12th) District, robberies are up 44% from last year and 48% from 2019. The district had 78 robberies in the four weeks ending Monday, a 90% increase from last year.
But of the districts La Spata mentioned, the Grand Central (25th) District takes the cake, with robberies up 76% from last year and 40% compared to 2019.