Violent robberies in Boystown put residents on alert for Pride weekend

Two attacks in Lake View this week have residents on edge as large crowds are anticipated for the Pride Parade.
Two attacks in a North Side Chicago neighborhood this week have residents on edge. Safety is a concern in Lake View, where a huge crowd of people is expected to gather for Sunday's Pride Parade.

It's been a week of Pride festivities with people coming from miles around, so many Lakeview residents say they're not surprised by the timing of these two attacks. They occurred blocks apart, with the latest one happening early Friday.

One attack happened around 4:30 in the morning after the popular nightlife district had fallen quiet. The 25-year-old victim, police say, was hit in the back of the head and then the attacker stole his wallet.

"It's scary. It's really scary, just to know that I'm in a neighborhood that has that action going on," said Rick Laughery, who works in Lake View.

The incident came just five days after a similar robbery half a mile away, in the shadow of the Belmont CTA stop. Early Sunday morning, that victim was also clubbed in the head by a lone attacker.

"I think that's really unfortunate, like you can't feel safe in any neighborhood," said Christopher Balthazar, North Side resident.

Police can't confirm the two incidents are related, but they come during one of the most vibrant weeks of the year in East Lakeview. More than a million people are expected to descend upon the neighborhood for the Pride Parade this weekend.

"I know there are a lot of extra people in town, so that can cause trouble whether it's an event or just a special weekend," said Sienna Wynn, Lake View resident.

Last summer, the police beat that includes Boystown ranked first in the city for robberies. The ABC7 I-Team was given exclusive access as police tried to stem the tide.

Since mid-May, violent and property crime is down compared to the same period last year. Lake View business leaders attribute the success to heightened awareness and police efforts.

"As we know, when the weather gets warmer, the crime goes up, so we're hoping in the next few weeks, we're prepared for anything that might come. It's just like any other entertainment district in the United States," said Maureen Martino, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.

In both robberies this week, police have only a vague description of the attackers. The victims were both treated at a nearby hospital and released.


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