Police to increase patrols after series of violent robberies in Lincoln Park, Lakeview

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With ten days to go before Christmas, many are trying to get in some last-minute holiday shopping, but some North Side residents are feeling less comfortable once the sun goes down as crime in the neighborhood continues to rise.

"It's all so uncertain," said Lincoln Park resident, Tim Calkins. "It seems that you just never know now when you go out what's going to happen and you hope everything is OK, but now there are so many of these stories that you just don't know."

A string of violent armed robberies in Lincoln Park and Lakeview Tuesday night targeted at least five victims, Chicago police said.

"It's all so uncertain," said Lincoln Park resident, Tim Calkins. "It seems that you just never know now when you go out what's going to happen and you hope everything is OK, but now there are so many of these stories that you just don't know."

Occurring within blocks of each other between 10 and 10:30 p.m., police now believe they are part of a pattern that includes several other incidents starting in mid-November involving a revolving group of two to five masked individuals between 13 and 25 years old.

The first robbery occurred in the 2100-block of North Fremont Street at about 10 p.m., police said.

A 24-year-old man was walking when three suspects got out of a dark-colored SUV and demanded property from the victim at gunpoint, police said.

After stealing from the victim, police said the suspects got back in the SUV and fled southbound. The victim was not injured.

About 15 minutes later, another robbery occurred in the 1000-block of West George Street, police said.

A 30-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were walking on the sidewalk when police said three suspects armed with handguns got out of a dark-colored SUV.

The suspects struck the man in the face with a handgun before they took the victims' wallets, phones and purse and fled, police said.

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The third robbery occurred at about 10:30 p.m. when police said a man and woman, both 38, were walking in the 1200-block of West Montana Street.

Three male suspects armed with handguns got out of a dark-colored sedan, hit the woman in the back of the head with a handgun and struck the man in the face, police said.

The robbers then took the man's shoes, wallet and phone and took the woman's purse and phone, police said.

Neighbors in the area were left wondering why crime has escalated so badly and what they can do to protect themselves.

"I live alone here," said resident Jacqui Taub. "I've lived alone here for a while. I'd like to think it's a safe spot, but I keep hearing of more and more of these things happening. It's very alarming."

"I own a pet care company, so I'm walking dogs during the day, but I'm also doing pet visits at homes in the evenings and weekends, and so many of us in the industry have had some fears about doing visits," said Alicia Obando.

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However, it's not just Lincoln Park. A lot of Obando's clientele in Lakeview have also seen a large increase in crime recently.

According to city data, robberies in the Lakeview-based 19th District have increased 9% over the same period last year. While in the 18th District, which covers much of Lincoln Park, robberies are up 19%.

Margaret Murphy has been a Lincoln Parker for 30 years. She's not going anywhere but even she is making changes to her routine.

"I have a short walk at night. I don't if I'm going somewhere. I'm in my car until I'm in a safe place to get out of it," Murphy said.

No suspects are in custody in connection with any of the robberies. Area Three detectives are investigating.

Alderman Michele Smith, 43rd Ward, said more help is coming to Lincoln Park starting Wednesday night. Residents should see additional patrols driving the streets with their blue lights on, especially in areas that have been recently attacked.
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