Crime up in NW Side neighborhoods

November 10, 2008 7:59:22 PM PST
Crime is on the rise in an unlikely place in Chicago. Residents in a quiet neighborhood on the city's Northwest Side have noticed a jump in burglaries, break-ins, and vandalism recently.Most Chicago crimes that make the news are violent and occur in poor neighborhoods on the city's South and West sides. But statistics have confirmed for another month that the neighborhoods with the overall biggest increase in crime are not where you think they might be.

Ask around Ukrainian Village and people usually will say that crime is rising fastest in some other Chicago neighborhood.

"Not wanting to put the area down, but possibly Humboldt Park. Or is it here? Oh, that's not good," said Robin Dean, Ukrainian Village resident.

Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park, West Town and parts of the West Loop are in the 13th police district, where crime has risen just under 14-percent during the first 10 months of 2008 year compared to last year. Murders and assaults are actually down there during the same period, but robbery and property crimes-- including burglary and theft -- are up sharply:

"There was a robbery just on the corner in front of my building. A waiter on the way home was robbed," said Christine Alterio, neighborhood resident.

During the past 10 years, much of the 13th police district has gentrified. Newcomers have bid up the price of real estate here and asking prices for homes approaching and exceeding $1 million are not unheard of:

"Cause I know the neighborhood's changing and a lot of people who have been living here for a long time are being pushed out," said Kate Senserino, neighborhood worker.

"There are people with money here, so it's a place to rob people on their way home," said Alterio.

The 13th Police District, or Wood Street Police Station, serves the area just west of downtown. Three aldermanic districts overlap within it --including the wards of Walter Burnett, 27th; Billy Ocasio, 26th; and Manny Flores, 1st Ward. Flores wants police to take note of crime trends and assign more officers to the district.

"We see a spike an increase in these types of crime, I have to address that question," said Ald. Manny Flores, 1st Ward.

Flores also said people who have moved into gentrifying neighborhoods need to pay closer attention to their surroundings.

The 23rd District, which includes Lakeview, Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park, is number two on the crime stats with just over 13-percent increase in overall crime.


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