Watch CBS News

Neighbors want action after repeated armed robbery sprees in Chicago neighborhoods

North Side Chicago communities concerned with spike in robberies
North Side Chicago communities concerned with spike in robberies 02:48

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Several people were targeted in armed robberies on the North and Near Northwest Sides overnight – and again on Tuesday afternoon.

Nearly every day, people wake up to news that more people were targeted.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, police laid out their plans to combat the crisis Tuesday night.

Chicago Police Area 3 Detectives Cmdr. Rodney Hill called the recent armed robberies a "trend." Helicopters, bicycles, license plate readers, and specialized teams of officers are all being used to try to fight back.

In a span of just hours Tuesday, at least five people were robbed in the middle of the day in Bucktown. The robberies happened so fast that even police dispatchers were in disbelief.

The midday robberies happened near Western and Milwaukee avenues, Damen Avenue between Shakespeare Avenue and Charleston Street, Francisco and Wabansia avenues, North and Maplewood avenues, and Homer and Rockwell streets.

Early this morning, several people were also robbed at gunpoint as they simply walked down the street. Employees at an AT&T store at Riverpoint Center near Fullerton and Clybourn avenues were tied up and robbed.

DePaul University students have also been targets near campus in recent days. Robbers also held people up at gunpoint this past weekend on Armitage Avenue in Lincoln Park, and on Halsted Street near the NEWCITY shopping center.

It is all part of what police call a disturbing crime trend – in particular targeting the Near North (18th) District – bounded by Fullerton Avenue on the north, the Chicago River on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, and the Chicago River's North Branch on the west.

The 18th District does not include Bucktown, but it does include most of Lincoln Park, Old Town, the Clybourn Corridor, the Gold Coast, the Magnificent Mile, River North, and Streeterville.

"It's one of the scariest kinds of crimes that citizens, no matter where they live, experience – being held up at gunpoint," said Larry Sachs, a board member with the Lincoln Central Association. "It's very difficult to prevent it, actually, because it's so random."

The neighborhood group is concerned about the seemingly random crimes.

Sachs joined others for a regularly-scheduled 18th Police District Council meeting. District Capt. David Koenig said part of the challenge is that teenagers are using stolen cars to commit the armed robberies.

This year to date, about 300 robberies have been committed in the 18th District, according to data provided by the Chicago Police Department – with a roughly 10 percent clearance rate.

"They'll steal a car use, use it to do robberies, and get another one the next day," Koenig said. "So it's like Whac-a-Mole. We're constantly cat-and-mouse."

"It's a trend that's going on now, and we're definitely addressing it proactively," said Cmdr. Hill.

"No, I don't think there are enough resources," added Brad Kessler, chair of the 18th District Police Council. "We have to have much more attention to retail theft; much more attention to armed robbery – and that takes resources."

The CPD said a handful of guns were recovered over the weekend – possibly connected to the robberies. But at last check, no arrests had been made.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.