June 8, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 19

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    Personal crime down, property crime up

    Crimes against persons in Hyde Park-South Kenwood decreased nearly 27 percent for the first five months of the year, while property crimes increased 31 percent as of the end of May, driving up the overall crime rate by 18 percent, the first increase in three years, according to a report by the South East Chicago Commission. The SECC monitors criminal activity in the area bounded by 47th and 61st streets, from Cottage Grove Avenue to Lake Shore Drive.

    "We have experienced a 59 percent increase in thefts from cars, and a 28 percent increase in burglaries," said Robert Richards, SECC Law Enforcement Coordinator. "Recent arrests should help curb this trend."

    Despite an overall decrease in crimes against persons, the SECC reported an increase in sexual assaults. Ten sexual assaults have been reported so far this year, compared with seven in the first five months of 1994. The latest occurred at 11:30 p.m. May 30, when a staff member was walking from her car in the 5700 block of Dorchester. She was accosted by a man carrying a piece of pipe and driven in her car to an area at 67th Street and Cornell Avenue, where she was criminally sexually assaulted in the car. She was then driven back to Hyde Park where the offender took her automatic-teller bank card and was attempting to use it when she escaped. Her car was later found near 54th Street and Dorchester Avenue. As of press time, police were investigating strong leads concerning the identity of the attacker.

    One homicide has been reported this year. Two Southeast Side residents, Javier Romero, 24, and Jesse Settle, 23, have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Jorge Astudillo, 23, found shot on the lakefront at 47th Street on April 19.

    Robberies have dropped by 31 percent compared with the same period last year. Police have arrested and charged Jeffrey Pendleton, a suspect in the May 27 knifepoint robbery of two students in the 1400 block of East 56th Street. Pendleton is being held on $50,000 bond pending his next court date. Police also are investigating whether he may be a suspect in other incidents in the area.

    Richards said police are seeking suspects in two related robberies that occurred on May 29. The first incident occurred at 6:50 p.m. in the 4800 block of Drexel when a student and his spouse, who were riding bikes, were stopped by four men in a brown auto. One of the men said he had a gun and demanded the spouse's bike, riding off with it while the other three followed in the car. A short time later, two men in a brown car robbed at gunpoint a resident who was walking in the 4900 block of Ellis with his two children.

    Police believe that one man is responsible for three recent store robberies in the neighborhood. In all three cases, an offender described as an approximately 40-year-old African-American male entered a business and implied he had a gun. In the first robbery, at 12:10 p.m on May 17, the offender took $75 from the cash register in a dry cleaner's in the 1400 block of Hyde Park Boulevard. The offender then went to a plant store in the 5200 block of Harper, but failed to get any money. On May 19, the offender held up a dry cleaner's in the 1300 block of 53rd Street at 2:35 p.m. and fled with $50 from the cash register.