CHICAGO — Business owners and residents in Bucktown say they are concerned about an increase in crime following a brazen attack and robbery on Monday afternoon that left a man injured.
The broad daylight robbery, which involved two men, was caught on surveillance video.
“What I saw in that video was a shocking terrorist incident and assault, high def, like I’ve never seen in this neighborhood before,” Steve Jensen, from the Bucktown Community Organization, said.
Video capturing the violent attack shows the two assailants lingering on a sidewalk in the 2000 block of North Damen Avenue, just before 3 p.m. when the victim, a 33-year-old man, is seen crossing the street. The two offenders then follow the man into an alley before one of them runs up behind the victim and punches him in the head. The second robber then joins in, dragging the victim across the alley.
A witness in a nearby vehicle who saw the robbery unfolding then honked their horn and the offenders were seen fleeing with the victim’s bag.
“I think the most shocking part is when the two perpetrators walked away like they were walking to the bus stop. They didn’t run, they didn’t have to,” Jensen said.
Following the attack, the victim was taken to a local medical center for treatment.
Area Three Commander Rodney Hill spoke with residents in Lincoln Park on Tuesday night in a meeting coordinated by the newly elected 18th District Police Council.
“Year to date over 300 robberies have been committed and the clearance rate is 10%,” Hill said.
CPD says it is tracking patterns, pinpointing where robberies occur and deploying resources to those areas while shifting some officers to 3rd watch, so more officers are on patrol between 2 and 5 a.m. when many of the robberies take place.
“There are challenges. These guys dump vehicles frequently, they’ll steal a car use it to commit robberies then get another one. It’s like whack a mole, it’s constantly like cat and mouse,” said CPD 18th District Cpt. Dave Koenig.
Officers say they are using license plate readers and working with the carjacking task force to try to track the criminals down, but the solve rate isn’t good.
In the meantime, residents in the area say they are scared, fed up and frustrated with the city’s response.
“I’ve been a Chicago native since 1995 and this is the first year when it’s gotten so out of hand,” Naveen Sachar, a Bucktown business owner and resident, said. “They’re not afraid of the cops, they’re not afraid of the law, they’re not afraid of anyone.”
Data from the Chicago Police Department shows robberies have increased 96% since 2019 and 53% since last year.
“People are super upset. People want to storm city hall, they want to protest in front of the mayor’s house,” Jensen said. “I’ve seen different social media posts, the anger, the disgust, this is city-wide. When’s it going to stop?”
A spokesperson from the Chicago Police Department said the Bureau of Patrol and the Bureau of Detectives meet weekly to discuss patterns and strategic deployments to try and prevent these types of crimes. Department officials say they are also focused on community engagement, centered around awareness and prevention.