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More Shootings In The Loop So Far This Year Than In All Of 2020; Downtown Area Community Leaders Call For Prevention

CHICAGO (CBS) -- This is a scary statistic for people who work or live near the Loop – more people have been shot there so far this year than in all of 2020.

As CBS 2's Asal Rezaei reported Monday, community leaders are hoping to work with Chicago Police to prevent shootings from happening in the first place.

It is a scene that is happening more and more in Chicago – police officers and crime scene tape taking over intersections in the Loop and adjacent areas.

"We used to say that it's the safest neighborhood in Chicago," said Robert Johnson, safety and security chair for the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, or SOAR. "It probably still is, but it's changed. There's been a lot of hiccups."

Johnson has lived in the downtown area for a long time. His group also works on prevention tactics with neighborhood associations in the Loop and the Gold Coast, and with the Near North (18th) District police. The district does not include the Loop, but does include areas just to the north in the Central Business District such as Streeterville, River North, and the Gold Coast.

"There's been a lot of thefts and robberies, to drive by shootings are a concern," Johnson said.

The city's crime data shows that in just the Loop alone, there have been 23 people shot so far this year. In all of 2020, there were 21 people shot in the Loop.

As defined for these purposes, the Loop is Chicago Community Area No. 32 – bounded by the Main Branch of the Chicago River on the north, Lake Michigan on the east, and the South Branch of the River on the west, and extending south to Roosevelt Road to include part of the South Loop.

The most recent shooting happened Sunday morning just after 8 a.m. on Wacker Drive near Michigan Avenue, when a man was hit by gunfire several times by a known perpetrator while they both sat in a car.

Paramedics rushed him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

Community safety advocates such as Johnson said more officers on the streets could help bring the numbers down.

"We want more bike patrol. We want more foot patrol. We want more static support, for example, in front of these stores that are being constantly ripped off," Johnson said. "We need to have a police officer on that block as a regular assignment stationary assignment."

Chicago Police have not yet confirmed if they plan to increase patrols in the downtown areas.

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