Feb. 16, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 12

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    Crime on decline for third year in row

    Total reported crime in Hyde Park-South Kenwood has declined for each of the past three years, according to Robert Mason, Executive Director of the South East Chicago Commission.

    Since 1991, reported crime has declined a total of 32 percent, Mason said. According to statistics compiled by the SECC, total crime in the neighborhood -- bounded by 61st and 47th streets, Cottage Grove Avenue and Lake Shore Drive -- decreased 5 percent in 1992 compared with 1991, 12 percent in 1993 compared with 1992, and 19 percent in 1994 compared with 1993. (For a statistical summary of crime in the last quarter of 1994, see the supplement Neighborhood Safety & Security in this issue.) The trend continued into the first month of 1995. January total crime figures showed a 12 percent decrease compared with January 1994.

    Although the actual numbers of reported incidents are small, sexual assaults increased by 100 percent (two crimes in January 1995, compared with the same month in 1994); robberies decreased by 31 percent; purse snatchings fell 50 percent; burglaries dropped 31 percent; auto thefts declined 29 percent; and thefts from autos increased 87 percent. There were no homicides reported in January 1994 or January 1995.

    The SECC reports that police made arrests in one robbery incident and three burglaries in the neighborhood in January.

    An alert neighbor's call resulted in the arrest of a man for two garage burglaries in the South Kenwood neighborhood. On the morning of Jan. 13, a resident called police when he observed a man breaking into a neighbor's garage in the 1200 block of 50th Street. Police apprehended a 44-year-old man after a brief chase. The man was also identified by another area resident who had confronted him shortly after he had broken into her garage in the 4800 block of South Ellis and attempted to steal two bicycles minutes before the second break-in on 50th Street. Police are investigating to determine whether the suspect, who is awaiting trial for burglary, is responsible for an extensive pattern of garage burglaries in the community.

    Police credit another resident for the arrests of two men and a woman who broke into basement storage lockers in an apartment building in the 5100 block of South Kimbark at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 15. The alert witness saw the trio loading the items into their car and called police, giving a description of the suspects and their vehicle. Police curbed the car and arrested the occupants after discovering the stolen property in the trunk. The three offenders were charged with burglary and are awaiting trial.

    The SECC has detected a pattern of three burglaries that occurred during the night while residents were home. One of the burglaries, in the 5500 block of Kimbark, occurred Jan. 12; the other two occurred on Feb. 10, one in the 5400 block of University and the other in the 1300 block of 56th Street. In each case, the offender gained entry by opening an unlocked door or window.

    The SECC has also noted a second pattern of five residential burglaries in South Kenwood since Jan. 12. These burglaries all occurred during daytime hours while residents were not at home. Four of the break-ins have occurred along Hyde Park Boulevard between Ellis and Kenwood avenues; the fifth burglary took place in the 1300 block of Madison Park.

    "Call police as soon as possible when you observe suspicious activity or if you have been a victim of a crime," said Robert Richards, Law Enforcement Coordinator for the SECC. "Most criminals are apprehended by police because either the victim or a witness notified police quickly."

    To contact University Police, dial 123 from a campus phone, or 702-8181 from any phone, or use a white emergency phone. To call Chicago Police, dial 911 (on campus, dial 9-911).