Crime and Thefts Increase in South Loop

South Loop residents and police officers discussed the increased number of thefts in their neighborhood on Tuesday at a CAPS meeting.

Residents and officers of beat 132 huddled into the 1st District Police Community Room to discuss the increase in crime and the number of thefts in their community, most particularly on the CTA.

Crime increased from Sept. 21 to Oct. 18, according to a report handed out by the Chicago Police Department officers at the meeting. In September, Beat 132 recorded 146 crimes, compared 171 crimes in the beat in October.

Most of these crimes were thefts, which increased from September to October. Thefts included motor vehicle theft, retail theft and robbery. Thefts went up from September’s 73 to 74 in October, according to the report.

Larry Young, beat facilitator and former South Loop resident, said, “iPods, iPhones, individuals who wear them on the street become targets.”

The items are usually stolen at the EL and bus stops, police said. College students are usually targeted, Young said.

“There are 65,000 students who come down here [South Loop] during the day, as many of them as 30,000 reside in the district,” Young said. “It’s a special demographic that the commander and the staff here are sensitive too.”

Undercover police officers will be stationed at various CTA El and bus stops to try to reduce the thefts, according to Kathy Cunningham, community policing sergeant for District 1. Cunningham added, “So they have uniformed officers there as deterrents, and they also have undercover officers there working as decoys.”

Cunningham said this is a new process that has been created in response to the recent increase in crime and thefts in the South Loop. Undercover officers may look like unsuspecting tourists and  “try and catch purse snatchers or pick pockets,” said Young.

The new dispatch of undercover officers will begin on Nov. 20, just in time for the holidays, Young said.

The next CAPS meeting for Beat 132 will be Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in the 1st District Police Community Room.