Chicago cops hit the streets, spreading the word about robberies on the DePaul campus

A Chicago police officer spreads the word about recent robberies near the DePaul University campus on September 29, 2023. | Provided

Chicago cops are hitting the streets with some old-fashioned legwork to help spread the word about recent robberies on the DePaul University campus in Lincoln Park.

Officers were spotted near Halsted and Fullerton on Saturday morning, chatting with DePaul students and handing out informational flyers about recent nighttime sprees on campus.

A passerby who saw the cops in action told CWBChicago that the outreach was “good to see. Getting back to basics.”

An officer told them that CPD is “just trying to get the students and general public aware of all the robberies, especially from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.”

“He’s literally telling the [students] ‘Have your head on a swivel all the time.'”

DePaul administrators published two public letters in September after robbery crews targeted students during nighttime sprees. Leaders encouraged students to take “extra steps” to protect themselves at night following a series of holdups on campus on September 23 and 24.

After a similar spree earlier in the month, school President Robert Manuel wrote a letter acknowledging the “sad reality” of Chicago’s crime problem.

“Chicago continues to grapple with criminal activity, including robberies throughout the city,” he continued. “Public Safety remains on heightened alert and is actively working with the Chicago Police Department to address these most recent incidents on campus.”

The most recent robberies began around 10:10 p.m. on September 23 in the school’s quad on the 2300 block of North Seminary. Chicago police said an 18-year-old woman, an 18-year-old man, and a 16-year-old girl were robbed by two men who approached them. One robber demanded property from the older victims while another battered and robbed the 16-year-old, CPD said.

The school’s initial email to students about the incident said several people were sitting on the hill in the quad when two men demanded phones from two victims.

Later, at 2:05 a.m. on September 24, two 19-year-old women were robbed at gunpoint in the 2200 block of North Racine, according to CPD. Police said the women were walking when four men dressed in black clothing exited a vehicle and demanded their property while displaying a handgun.

The gunman struck one of the women in the forehead with his firearm after she initially refused to cooperate, according to police. The injured woman was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment.

Again, DePaul provided a slightly different account of the incident in an email to its community. It said three students were robbed during the second incident, and one, a female, was struck in the face with a gun. The school said four offenders wearing dark clothing, hoodies, and masks jumped out of a Toyota Prime to rob the victims of wallets, phones, and purses on the corner of Racine and Belden.

On September 17, two DePaul students were maced and robbed in the 1200 block of West Belden. The victims, who are a couple, were on the sidewalk when five men pulled up in a gray SUV. According to the spokesperson, the men grabbed the woman’s property and then pepper-sprayed both victims when the boyfriend intervened. After punching the boyfriend, the group returned to the car and fled.

On Saturday, September 9, three robberies were reported in under 30 minutes on or near the school’s campus.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com