Where theft of items taken from inside vehicles was the top concern at July’s meeting of Beat 2031, the autos themselves have now become a primary target. Eight vehicles were stolen in the past two months within the beat’s boundaries, Lawrence to Foster and Leavitt to the Chicago River.
“That’s a huge increase for us,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Sacks, who provided updated crime statistics at Tuesday night’s CAPS meeting.
While theft in general is actually down across the beat during the year to date, motor vehicle theft has risen dramatically. Last year, 12 cars had been stolen by the end of August; in 2010, 26 cars have been reported stolen through September. Burglary and robbery (see chart for Top 10 Crimes) are up as well, part of a city-wide trend. Lately, thieves have been snatching jewelry, necklaces typically, from passers-by near the intersection of Lincoln and Western.
Sacks encouraged residents to attend a forum Monday, Oct. 4, in the community center at 5400 N. Lincoln. Convicted burglars will share the common tricks of their trade and offer tips on how to avoid becoming a victim. Minimally, Sacks noted, “Lock your car and if you have a Club, use it.”
Following up on an issue raised at the July meeting, Sacks reported that two taggers were recently arrested—one adult, one juvenile—suspected of producing much of the graffiti that popped up on the beat over the summer. While he couldn’t offer details on the juvenile, Sacks said the adult was a member of the “NAS” crew (taggers are affiliated with specific groups) and the graffiti was not gang-related. Another tagger was arrested on a neighboring beat. Sacks urged residents to continue emailing pictures of graffiti to police—it’s helpful to identify patterns and determine whether the markings are the work of a particular individual.
Overall, nearly 1,600 calls for service were made by residents, resulting in 35 arrests. While that seems like a lot of crime and suspicious activity, Sacks was quick to point out that it’s modest compared with other neighborhoods—Beat 2031 remains a safe place for people to live. “We don’t have any major violence on this beat,” he said. “You don’t see homicides or aggravated batteries. Mostly we’re concerned about property.”
The next CAPS meeting for Beat 2031 is scheduled for November 30, 7 p.m., Anderson Pavilion of Swedish Covenant Hospital, 2751 W. Winona.