Nov. 21, 1996
Vol. 16, No. 6

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    Despite arrests, rash of robberies reported; extra caution urged

    Despite a series of arrests by city and University police, a rash of robberies and purse snatchings during the past few weeks are responsible for an 11 percent increase in those crimes during the first 10 months of the year, compared with the same period in 1995, the South East Chicago Commission reported. At the same time, total reported crime in the Hyde Park-South Kenwood neighborhood has decreased 9 percent during the first 10 months of the year, largely because of a 23 percent decline in burglaries.

    University and Chicago police have coordinated their efforts and increased patrols in the neighborhood to bring a halt to the robberies. The SECC cautions people to be alert and to use common sense. A crime can occur in any neighborhood at any time. Walk with one or more companions whenever possible. Statistics show that people who walk alone are much more likely to be victims of crime.

    Plan the safest route to your destination. Choose well-lighted busy streets and avoid vacant lots, alleys or construction sites. Take the long way if it's the safest. Use the University bus and late-night van service. Call police immediately if you have been victimized. The sooner the police are aware that a crime has been committed, the greater the chance that the offender will be apprehended. Use one of the 146 white emergency phones throughout the neighborhood to notify University police quickly.

    On Oct. 31, in the 4700 block of Woodlawn, Chicago police officers arrested a 33-year-old North Kenwood man who matched the description of a suspect wanted in six robberies in the neighborhood. Complainants identified the offender in a series of line-ups, and he is currently in Cook County jail awaiting trial on five separate counts of robbery.

    Chicago and University police investigating two similar street robberies in the 5600 block of Blackstone and the 1300 block of 56th Street in the afternoon of Nov. 10 arrested a 31-year-old man at 55th and Harper minutes after he committed the second robbery. Police were able to respond quickly, thanks to the victim, who used a nearby white emergency phone to notify them of the crime. Victims in both incidents identified the offender, who has been charged with two counts of robbery.

    University and Chicago police arrested four juvenile offenders for two separate robberies on Nov. 10. The four youths, ranging in age from 12 to 15, robbed the first victim as he was walking in the 5500 block of Blackstone at 3:45 p.m. Ten minutes later, the four robbed a man waiting for a train on the Metra platform at 57th Street. City and University police spotted the suspects near the Museum of Science & Industry and took them into custody after a brief chase. Both victims identified the offenders, who were turned over to youth authorities.

    University, city and Metra police worked together to arrest a 17-year-old South Shore man for the armed robbery of a Metra train crewman on Nov. 12. The Metra crewman told police that he stepped off the train onto the platform at the 59th Street station at about 6 p.m. when three young men approached him and robbed him at gunpoint. About two hours later, Metra police looking for suspects observed three young men walking along the tracks near 61st Street. The three suspects fled, but were pursued by Chicago and University police who were in the vicinity. The 17-year-old suspect and a 16-year-old accomplice were apprehended after a short chase. Police recovered items that were taken from the victim. The victim viewed a line-up and identified the 17-year-old as one of the men who robbed him. The 16-year-old was charged with possession of drugs and turned over to youth authorities.

    For more on crime prevention and security, see Neighborhood Safety & Security in this issue.