In this week’s Loopster, Kate Springer provides an overview of the rising concern over recent events that have led to Boystown residents speaking out.
But what’s really happening here? We looked at a number of variables of reported crime (burglary, battery, assault and theft) between 2009 and 2011 using the data available on EveryBlock.
Because crime tends to go up when the weather warms, we looked at summer numbers only, from June 21 to July 11, and we found crime is trending upwards in three of the four categories.
Battery is unlawful physical contact. It becomes assault if the physical contact is defined as violent. Theft is taking another person’s property and burglary is breaking and entering a person’s home for the purpose of committing a criminal act.
Burglary is up:
Battery is up:
Assault is up:
Theft is down:
The Chicago Transit Authority’s trains and buses are a great way to reach your summer destinations. But like all big cities, Chicago’s has its share of violence and theft and even the most seasoned commuters can fall prey to pick-pocketing and attacks while using the CTA.
The next time you board your CTA bus or the “L” keep these essential safety tips in mind:
Don’t flaunt it
Break the habit of patting your pockets or purses to make sure if your wallet is there. According to the CTA, this actually lets thieves know the exact location of your valuables.
It sounds like a given, but it needs to be said. Always keep your wallet in a safe location, like the inside of a jacket or the inside pocket of a purse.
Guys, always keep your wallet in a front pocket instead of a back pocket. Ladies, if your purse straps are long enough, wear it diagonally across your body so someone can’t snatch it. If not, keep your hands on your purse at all times. Don’t let it sit idly on your lap.
The CTA is no place to show off your latest tech device or Valentine’s Day present. Try to conceal your expensive belongings. This Chicago Tribune article on CTA smartphone thefts might put things into perspective.
Have a separate holder for your transit card (somewhere other than your wallet). This eliminates the need to take out your wallet whenever you need to use your card.
These chapters may help you get inside the mind of a pick-pocketer.
You snooze, you lose
Don’t sleep! Especially on its slow days, the “L” might seem like a good place to catch some extra z’s, but CTA advises you to be awake and alert.
Don’t get so engrossed in your phone, iPod or book that you tune out the rest of the bus or train. Always pay attention to what’s going on around you.
CTA warns commuters to be wary of noisy passengers arguing or causing a commotion. This could be staged to distract you.
Do your part
According to the CTA website, commuters can help keep buses and trains safe by watching for:
- Someone hiding things on CTA property
- Unattended packages
- People other than authorized CTA employees on the rail tracks
- Someone wearing unusual clothing for the time of year (i.e. a winter parka in the summer)
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as smoke, an odd smell, or suspicious activities you should immediately tell the bus driver, rail operator or call 911.
The CTA says, “If it’s unwanted, it’s harassment.” If you feel threatened in any way you should move toward light areas and people, or move to another part of the bus or to another rail car. Tell the rail or bus operator that you are being harassed immediately.
CTA recently announced they will double the number of surveillance cameras at CTA rail stations to about 3,000. There will also be an increased police presence over the next few months to keep violence and theft at bay.
Be sure to bookmark the official CTA website to stay up to date on official safety information (and for all things CTA). For additional coverage of the CTA’s new security plans visit the CTA Tattler blog.
Last Saturday, a 24-year-old was stabbed around 3 a.m. in Lakeview. Two suspects are in custody and the victim is in good condition, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, but the fourth stabbing in a month only adds to the community’s growing unrest.
Just over two weeks ago, more than 700 concerned Lakeview residents packed a violence forum to express growing concern about violence in the community. Alderman Tom Tunney said that the department has stepped up night patrol officers in response to the recent violent crimes, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A timeline by WBEZ shows that Boystown has been the location of dozens of assaults, robberies, muggings and batteries since April. But the attack captured on video by Boystown resident Rob Sall on July 3 finally brought the debate over class and race to a boil.
The community has also turned to social media to voice concerns on pages such as “Take Back Boystown.” The Facebook page, which has at least 3,747 “likes,” says it aims to bring attention to the recent string of violent crimes and act as a venue for suggestions.
Though some have scapegoated the Center on Halsted Youth Program that offers a safe haven for people ages 13-24 who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning their sexuality, police say they’ve found no correlation, as reported by WBEZ.
Read what others are saying about the recent events in Lakeview:
Summer is a great time for driving in Chicago, but it’s also a bad time of year for accidents and theft. Keeping a few simple guidelines in mind can go a long way toward keeping you, fellow drivers and your car a lot safer.
Here are five easy-to-follow automobile tips. Switch the slideshow to full screen to view all of the details:
Same-sex marriage remains a hot topic in the United States, and it is recognized only at the state level. In 2003, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage and several states (or a region, in one example) have since followed suit: Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Many states, however, continue to ban same-sex marriage in their constitutions.