South Loop community meeting focused on crime spike

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A meeting between Chicago police and the community in the city's South Loop was focused on residents' worries about the summertime spike in crime. Since the Jan. 1, the police district that includes the South Loop has seen a 50 percent increase in robberies compared to the same period last year.

"They're just looking for easy target, and they're coming up jostling, punching, taking property and running off," said Capt. Michael Pigott, Chicago Police Department.

The gathering came on the heels of a rash of robberies targeting South Loop bike riders. Most of the victims have been women.

There have been at least seven robberies in the last 20 days. The victims were knocked or pulled off their bikes and their purses and bags were stolen by robbers in passing cars.

"You're vulnerable on a bicycle," said Sarah, who did not want to share her last name. "It bothers me that they're targeting females, which is why my radar went up."

"I look around constantly. I'm always looking behind my back, which is getting harder, but that's very important to be aware of your surroundings," said Ann Selin, South Loop resident.

Police are adding bike and foot patrols in the South Loop as well.

"Traditional policing is not going to stop this. We can't have a police officer on every corner, and when we have targets moving and people coming by snatching them on cars, we have to admit that things are a little bit out of the box on our end," Pigott said.

Whether on foot or bicycle, police remind citizens to be aware of their surroundings; that means no earbuds, and no staring at your phone.
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