LAKEVIEW — Police on Wednesday urged Lakeview residents to lock their windows and doors, citing a "huge uptick" in neighborhood burglaries.
On Wednesday night, Town Hall district officers hosted an outdoor meeting for beats 1923, 1924 and 1925 — an area that runs north to Irving Park, south to Belmont, west to Southport and east to Lake Michigan.
"Robberies are down dramatically" in all three beats, Sgt. Jason Clark told a group of about 40 residents. "We're doing very well."
But burglaries are still a big problem in the area, Clark said, noting that numbers are up in some places.
In Beat 1925 — a narrow sliver bordered by Irving Park, Halsted, Belmont and Lake Michigan — there were three burglaries last month, for a total of 33 burglaries since Jan. 1. During the first eight months of 2013, there were 20 reported burglaries.
"That's a huge uptick on those burglaries," Clark said.
Condos, apartments and garages were the biggest targets, and most of the incidents were classified as "unlawful entry," meaning no force was used and doors were probably left unlocked or propped open.
"We have to secure those doors," Clark said. In a lot of cases, "some door or window wasn't locked."
Clark told residents at Wednesday night's meeting — which was held outside 7-Eleven at 3407 N. Halsted St. — that overall crime numbers were down in each of the three beats.
Despite the mostly positive stats, residents said they still worried about safety in Lakeview.
"I don't care about the numbers because I didn't feel threatened last year. This is now," said Alexi Demos, 28, who lives near Southport and Roscoe. "I don't think the numbers matter because these crimes aren't just happening at 4 a.m."
Demos said she was particularly bothered by an armed robbery that happened on Lincoln Avenue Tuesday night. A young woman allegedly had her purse stolen and a gun held to her head.
"That's a major street," Demos said. "We're told to take major streets — avoid side streets — and I do. ... You know, you take your headphones out, you put your phone away, and still, I have this feeling that I'm probably going to be mugged soon. Truthfully, that's how I walk around now."
Several residents complained about groups loitering and possibly selling drugs along different stretches of Halsted, Belmont and Clark. A handful said they frequently called 911 and saw slow or nonexistent response times.
"You've been telling us about crime statistics that are falling," one man said, "but those are crimes that are reported."
Some residents questioned what was being done on Belmont Avenue, particularly near Belmont and Sheffield, where a handful of 4 a.m. bars and a 4 a.m. liquor store frequently draw late-night crowds and crime.
Police said they've amped up patrols near the Belmont "L" station and have been organizing outdoor roll calls as a show of force.
Officers — as well as Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Ald. James Cappleman (46th), who were in attendance — urged residents to keep calling 911 when they see suspicious activities or don't feel safe. Those calls, Clark said, can help police fine-tune strategies.
Here are the crime stats for the areas covered in Wednesday's meeting:
Beat 1923: In the past month, no robberies were reported in beat 1923 — which is bordered by Irving Park, Halsted, Addison and Southport, and includes Wrigley Field. During the same time last year, there were six robberies. Year-to-date, there have been 16 reported incidents, compared to 27 in the first eight months of 2013.
In terms of burglaries, beat 1923 saw six in past 30 days, the same as last year. Since Jan. 1, there have been 35 burglaries, down from 40 in 2013.
Beat 1924: There have been eight reported robberies in the past month in beat 1924 — bordered by Addison, Halsted, Belmont and Southport. Last year, there were 18 in the same time frame. Since Jan. 1, the area has seen 57 robberies, compared to 89 in the first eight months of 2013.
Burglaries were up in beat 1924, with 11 in the past month, compared to six in the same time frame last year. Year-to-date, there have been 60 burglaries, compared to 50 in 2013.
Beat 1925: Beat 1925 — a bordered by Irving Park, Halsted, Belmont and Lake Michigan — saw five reported robberies in the past month, compared to nine in 2013. There've been 18 robberies on the beat since Jan. 1; there were 43 during the same time last year.
Burglaries are up by a lot in beat 1925. There were three in the past month, for a total of 33 burglaries since Jan. 1. During the first eight months of 2013, there were 20 reported burglaries.
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