Robberies increase in downtown Chicago, homicides decrease

Chicago crime data show increased robberies in more affluent areas of the city that tend to attract lots of tourists.

City crime numbers indicate that the downtown area known as the Loop saw 86 robbery reports during nearly the first three months of this year, the Chicago Tribune reported . That figure is the highest for that time period in at least 15 years. The area saw 49 robbery reports during that time last year.

The Loop represents an area surrounded by the Chicago Transit Authority's elevated train lines and is home to some of the city's most notable restaurants, bars and hotels. The area includes the Chicago Theatre and Willis Tower, two popular spots for tourists.

Other areas near the Loop have also seen robbery spikes, such as the Near North Side and Lincoln Park.

"Dedicated teams" of officers are responding to the robbery spike, said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Officers are monitoring potential suspects travelling through the areas by CTA trains, he said.

People must stay vigilant and watch for thieves, many of whom are juveniles, Johnson said. Juveniles make up about 40 per cent of robbery suspects arrested this year, he said.

"They're opportunists," he said. "They go to areas where they think people aren't paying attention. We have a generation of people glued to their cellphones."

Despite the spike in downtown robberies, theft declined across the city overall by 14 per cent, from almost 2,500 last year to about 2,100, according to police statistics through March 25.

The figures also show homicides dropped by 17 per cent this year, from 128 to 106. Shooting victims have decreased by nearly 30 per cent, from 687 to 486, according to the newspaper's shooting database.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com


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