Police investigate S. Side attacks, robberies

February 6, 2009 3:26:53 PM PST
Police say a man tried to grab a woman and sexually assault her at the Grand Crossing Metra station on 75th Street in Chicago on Thursday night. The woman targeted in the attack was taken to a hospital in serious condition, according to the fire department. The incident is the latest of a series of attacks near the Metra Electric Line.

Police are investigating several incidents: two robberies and two sexual assaults. At this time they don't appear to be related, but the last incident where the victim was thrown to the track has gotten a lot of attention.

Some are trying to steer clear while some city officials want to insure the crimes get proper attention.

On Friday, more police patrolled the Grand Crossing Metra stop at 75th Street after the incident.

The woman resisted a sexual assault and she was thrown into the path of a train. The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She was hit by the train, but fortunately the train was already coming to a stop and her injuries do not appear life threatening.

Some morning commuters say they have security concerns about the area.

"In the evening now if I don't have anybody to meet me, I take a bus instead of this train. Out here by yourself, they won't even wait to see if you get down the stairs," said Pat Dowd, commuter.

"I'm just going to get off at 71st and Stony and have someone pick me up there. It's a little bit more out of my way, but for safety reasons, it's important,"said Tondra Burrage.

In November, police released a sketch after a sexual assault near the Metra stop at 63rd Street and Dorchester by a man with a knife.

"We want the riders to know that in these incidents were not riders who were attacked. They were women walking alone late at night in isolated areas who were attacked and some in some cases brought to our property," said Michael Gillis, Metra.

At City Hall on Friday, alderman for the fifth ward where the incidents occurred questioned attention to the incidents by media and police.

"This is a series of assaults occurring on the South Side along the Metra lines which makes is particularly dangerous for women going to or from work and I just don't see the same kind of response from the police department that they would have given if it were on the North Side," said Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward.

In response to the accusation that these incidents are not getting enough attention, Deputy Chief Alexander says the Chicago Police Department is working with Metra and the University of Chicago to solve the crimes.