West Town neighborhood coalition demands solutions as Chicago carjackings continue to rise

West Town has city's 2nd highest carjacking rate, data shows.

Evelyn Holmes Image
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Chicago carjackings considered 'public safety threat,' West Town neighborhood coalition fights to keep streets safe
With carjackings up nearly 50% this year in Chicago's West Town, some community groups are now working together to help keep their streets safe.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "I could see two young men rushing my car on either side with masks," recalled Erin Groble.

Groble hopes to turn her trauma into a triumph.

The carjacking victim-turned-activist had her car taken at gunpoint in broad daylight near the busy intersection of Milwaukee, Ashland and Division in mid-January.

RELATED: Carjacking incidents raise concerns in Chicago, suburbs; 5 carjackings reported in Wicker Park over weekend, police say

"It's crazy because in the moment you think let me just lock the doors and get away. It was like my arms weren't working," said Groble.

Although Groble eventually got her car back, she said her sense of safety was taken forever.

Groble and her boyfriend have formed the group West Town Community Coalition.

On Tuesday morning, she and the coalition were joined by more than a half dozen residents and neighborhood groups demanding a solution to what they call a public safety crisis.

"We need more public safety resources and support from city and state leaders now," said Connor Young, Wicker Park Committee member.

The coalition said this year West Town neighborhood has seen a 50% increase in carjackings.

Their data as of October, there were over 99 carjackings, the second most of all community areas in the city of Chicago.

"They know once they get on the highway they may not be chased there, may not be as many consequences it may be easier," said coalition member Sam Royko.

The groups not only want more accountability and transparency from the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County State's Attorney, but also updates regarding prosecutions and sentencing along with violence prevention programs.

"Our residents have no expectation of safety anymore. Everyone is at risk by simply leading their daily lives," said Kimberly Shannon, Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association president.

The coalition of neighborhood activists are hosting a community meeting on Thursday.

They've invited officials from the Chicago Police Department and the State's Attorney office, along with the public to talk solutions and how possibly redistricting will affect their efforts.

Meanwhile, Groble is vowing to help take back her neighborhood from criminals.

"It is really hard to heal and move forward when you see the same thing happening to your neighbors," said Groble.