By Larry Sachs
Most of us are aware that the media has reported a significant citywide increase in robberies (24% over the past 12 months) and that the Near West and Northwest sides have been most impacted – but robberies have increased significantly in our and neighboring communities in recent days as well. I get it, I really do – the idea that I could be robbed at gunpoint while walking around my neighborhood is extremely scary indeed. But I do get some cold comfort in realizing that most of these robberies have occurred very late at night and in early morning hours (i.e., midnight to 4am) – and I was further encouraged when I read Alderman Knudson’s 43rd Ward newsletter earlier this week about his work with the 18th CPD District and Area detectives to address this trend by improving District staffing, 911 response times and by investing in public safety technology (i.e., automated license plate readers (ALPR)).
The latter point relates to my personal belief that this Near North increase is happening because we live in an affluent area in close proximity to the Kennedy Expressway and to Lakeshore Drive, making it relatively quick and easy for offenders to enter and exit our communities. Knowing that these offenders often use stolen cars and SUVs to engage in 43rd Ward robberies suggests that the enhanced use of mobile and stationary ALPR technology to identify stolen vehicles using the Kennedy, Lakeshore Drive and the main roads to and from our neighborhoods just might slow down this activity – and I believe that this idea has been discussed with CPD.
That’s all well and good, but how can you or I or our loved ones prevent being robbed or, if the worst happens, how can we prevent being injured during a robbery and then help CPD make an arrest? CPD’s robbery prevention tips (Robbery-Prevention-Flyer.pdf (chicagopolice.org) has some useful information but is mainly focused on businesses rather than pedestrians – but I did find a seemingly logical and useful presentation of robbery prevention tips from the Baltimore Police, and encourage you to take a look (Robbery Prevention Tips | Baltimore Police Department).
And in my opinion, their best advice is “Personal safety first! Money and property is not important and CAN be replaced!”
Please stay safe, get to know your neighbors, and take good care of each other!