LAKEVIEW — After robberies increased by nearly five-fold in January from the same time last year, education tactics and an increase in nighttime entertainment patrols had "a pretty good effect" on February's numbers, police of the Town Hall Police District said.
January's robberies jumped from 13 to 62 in the Town Hall district, according to CAPS officer Sgt. Jason Clark — or nearly five times more than the same time last year. The numbers account for changes in redistricting, he said.
February still saw an increase in robberies from the same time last year, from 11 robberies in 2012 to 27 robberies in 2013, or more than double the amount. But February's robbery numbers represented a 50 percent decrease from January of this year.
"We’re having a pretty good effect from January leading into February," Clark said. "We re-deployed our personnel to follow the robbery trends in January. "
Total, the district's robberies have more than tripled this year from the same period last year, from 24 to 89.
The "vast majority" of the robberies, or a theft with force or threat of force, occur at night around Sheffield and Belmont, Clark said. The district includes Lakeview, Lincoln Park, North Center and parts of Uptown. (Beats can be identified on the Chicago Police Department website.)
Town Hall's special entertainment detail dedicated to patrolling at night and on weekends started on January 18, another tactic in controlling quality of life and nighttime crime.
They are uniformed and largely patrol on foot, Cmmdr. Elias Voulgaris has said. The entertainment detail was formed by shifting schedules for daytime officers, not an overall increase in cops, Voulgaris has said.
In response to January's high number of robberies, the district also pumped up education campaigns, since most robberies occur because victims aren't aware of their surroundings, Clark said.
Police have been posting flyers with safety tips in bathrooms at bars and local businesses and passing them out on the street, he said.
Tips include limiting alcoholic drinks, staying off cell phones, not wearing headphones, watching passing strangers and calling 911 after spotting suspicious activity.
Residents may also attend the district's "Keepin It Real" Burglary Workshop, where a panel of burglars discusses how community members can prevent being a victim, another education effort. It will be on Wed., March 27, from 7-9 p.m. at the Illinois Masonic Medical Center's Olson Auditorium, 836 W. Wellington Ave.
The plan is to also have pizzerias deliver safety tips along with pizzas, Clark said.