Chicago, IL

Chicago's 'Summer Safety Strategy' faces challenges by mob-style robberies occurring downtown

Jennifer Geer

Roaming groups of teens have surrounded people downtown during evening hours and taken their belongings by force.

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Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, Chicago(Cole Parsons/Unsplash)

On Saturday night, a woman walking along North Sheridan Road was robbed and punched in the face by a group of three teens. Earlier in the week, a horde of teens had robbed victims in Grant Park and Millenium Park by surrounding them and forcing them to give up their possessions.

Groups of teens have been creating "disturbances" for weeks

Chicago police issued a community alert going into Memorial Day weekend about mob-style robberies occurring downtown. Police advised, “If you’re thinking of using your phone in a public place, take a look around."

The police warned of groups of people aged 14 to 20 who are committing robberies in the downtown area through force. CPD advises people to stay aware of their surroundings and to report anything suspicious.

Since the weather has warmed up, large groups of young people have been converging onto downtown and fighting amongst each other.

On the weekend before Memorial Day, nine people were arrested for fighting in Millenium Park. And a man was shot the same weekend in the Loop, but it's not known if this shooting is connected to the mob of teens.

During the first week of May, Chicago police responded to a crowd of people creating what the police called "disturbances," at Millenium Park and the Loop. A CBS 2 photojournalist reported witnessing someone throwing things at the police and knocking over trash cans and planters.

The police told CBS 2, there was no looting and the officers “were able to successfully manage a variety of disturbances. The disturbances involved several small groups of teenagers which have since dispersed."

Armed robbery crew

In a separate incident, not related to the teens, police are warning residents of an armed robbery crew that may have struck a third time over the holiday weekend.

The robberies occurred last week in Streeterville and the Near North Side. The latest incident happened downtown on Monday night when an armed man entered two separate cars and robbed the occupants at gunpoint.

3 dead and 34 wounded in shootings over Memorial Day weekend

As bad as it the violence was this weekend, it did mark an improvement from last year during Chicago's stay-at-home order when 10 people were killed and 49 were shot.

In fact, this weekend was the least violent Memorial Day weekend in Chicago since 2013.

Some are worried the violence will increase

With the police warnings, some are concerned this summer may be a violent one.

Alderman Brian Hopkins told CBS 2 “There have been some severe incidents as well. There was a stabbing, a number of assaults. Lots of theft where they’re grabbing phones, wallets, and purses from people.”

Ald. Hopkins is concerned if the situation is allowed to continue, things will only get worse. “If we look the other way and allow it to happen, it is only going to get worse as the summer goes on. It’s just a matter of time before someone is hurt, if not killed because there have been some weapons involved in this, too.”

Mayor Lightfoot announces "Summer Safety Strategy"

Before the weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled a Chicago Summer Safety Strategy that "addresses community safety at a hyperlocal level." The plan is to prioritize police presence in hot spots, coordinate with community organizations, and use data to watch for trends and identify problem areas.

“We look forward to having the safest summer in the history of the city of Chicago,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “Yes, it’s a challenge, but we are up to this challenge – and we can meet it if we work cooperatively together.”

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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Tulsa.

Chicago, IL
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