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CAPS Beat 2031: Property Theft on the Rise

By Patty Wetli | Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thefts and burglaries are up across the city, largely attributed to the state of the economy, and Beat 2031 has not been immune to this trend.

Reporting to the approximately one dozen residents in attendance at last night’s CAPS meeting, Sgt. Jeffrey Sacks noted that while there’s very little violent crime within the beat (covering Lawrence to Foster and the Chicago River to Leavitt), there has been a significant uptick in property theft.

Sixteen burglaries were recorded since the previous meeting in May—a 400 percent increase over the prior reporting period. While there was no discernible pattern to the burglaries, all four robberies that occurred on the beat took place east of Lincoln Avenue. (See chart at bottom for Top 10 Crimes.*)

The most common targets? Autos. Many of the thefts were from vehicles and involved items left in plain view. Sacks stressed the importance of removing valuables such as laptops, GPS devices, and cell phones from a car.

“Don’t even leave the GPS holder,” he warned.

Bicycles are another hot item for thieves: 15 have been stolen on the beat in just the past two months. Sacks encouraged residents to register their bikes with police.

“We recover a lot of bikes but we don’t know who they belong to or how to return them to their owner,” he said. To deter theft, he recommended a “layered approach,” using both a U-lock and cable lock, since it takes different tools to break the locks and most thieves won’t trouble with the extra effort.

Graffiti—both tagging and gang-related—has been another persistent issue this summer across Chicago. Sacks credited the city with prompt removal when requested but asked residents to go beyond calling 3-1-1. He said to e-mail a digital picture of the damage. The 20th District can enter this image into a database and look for similar handiwork by the same artist.

“If he’s doing it over and over, we can stick the guy with a felony,” Sacks said.

Another tactic that residents can take to discourage crime: tree trimming. Summer’s full foliage often obscures street lighting, providing criminals with the added cover of darkness. Requests can be made with the City of Chicago, preferably before September.

In more than a decade on Beat 2031, Sacks has seen steady improvement in the area’s crime rate.

“It’s gotten nothing but better,” he said. While the current increase in criminal activity may prove an aberration, the goal of the CAPS meetings and the partnership between residents and police is to stem any potential backsliding.

A case in point: The police tallied 48 arrests between May 25 and July 26, a number of them in the vicinity of Gross Park. ?That?s because you pointed us to go over there,? Sacks told attendees. These arrests frequently were related to the Latin Kings and involved reckless conduct charges (typically marijuana possession).

The next Beat 2031 CAPS meeting is scheduled for September 28, 7 p.m., at Anderson Pavilion, Swedish Covenant Hospital (2751 W. Winona).

* (Note: Regarding the two ?offenses involving children,? Sacks said, ?We know everybody involved. This is not a community issue.?)

Upcoming events:

  • August 3: National Night Out, an anti-crime event. McCutcheon School, 4865 N. Sheridan, 6:30 p.m. There will be food, games, and a variety of activities, including tai chi demonstrations.
  • September 30: Multi-Culture Fest at the 20th District, 5400 N. Lincoln, 6 p.m. Food, entertainment, and music.

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