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Spate of Muggings Reported Near Belmont 'L' Station in Lakeview

By Ariel Cheung | August 25, 2015 7:51am
 [Left] Titus Meadows, 22, of South Chicago, and Joshua Tucker, 22, of South Shore, were each charged with one count of robbery following an incident early Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.
[Left] Titus Meadows, 22, of South Chicago, and Joshua Tucker, 22, of South Shore, were each charged with one count of robbery following an incident early Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.
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Chicago Police Department

LAKEVIEW — Three weekend robberies — just a stone's throw from the site of a future Belmont-Clark development meant to deter crime — extend an upward trend in violent crime in Lakeview.

Two men were arrested shortly after a robbery early Saturday, police said. Titus Meadows, of South Chicago, and Joshua Tucker, of South Shore, were each charged with one count of robbery.

The 27-year-old victim told police he walked past three men in the 1200 block of West Roscoe Street. One man kicked him in the back, forcing him to the ground as the three men rummaged through his pockets and backpack, police said. The attackers reportedly stole the victim's wallet and cellphone before fleeing.

Responding officers found and arrested Tucker and Meadows, both 22. Police said their clothing matched descriptions provided by the victim. The third man was not found, and the mugging remains under investigation.

The three weekend robberies took place within a mile of the Belmont 'L' station, near the 3200 N. Clark St. mixed-use development that broke ground last week.

Ariel Cheung discusses the recent uptick in Lakeview crime:

At the time, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said the additional foot traffic and activity from the transit-oriented development would help deter crime.

"The 24/7 development will add so much vitality and safety into this intersection, and that's been one of our problems, safety in our neighborhood," Tunney said. "We think economic development can ... make it a safer neighborhood."

The alderman did not return requests for comment Monday.

Lakeview has recorded 11 robberies and 17 burglaries from Aug. 1-17, according to police data. In July, there were 22 robberies and 16 burglaries.

Two more robberies took place late Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday, police said Monday.

Just before midnight Saturday, police said three men used a gun to rob a 29-year-old man in the 3200 block of North Seminary Street. The men exited a four-door silver car (driven by a fourth man) while the victim was walking past and demanded the victim's wallet and cellphone, police said.

The alleged robbers were described men in their 20s wearing white T-shirts and baggy pants.

Three hours later, a 31-year-old man spoke to two men in the 3200 block of North Clark Street before he said one of them sprayed him in the face with an unknown substance and stole cash from his pants pocket and fled.

Area North detectives are investigating both incidents, and no one has been arrested in either.

Crime in the area near the Belmont "L" station — specifically a robbery-turned-homicide in late May — prompted Tunney to request "increased resources" from police.

At the end of July, the Town Hall District dedicated increased resources to Lakeview as a direct result of the series of recent robberies, Tunney announced. His office, however, declined to explain what the new resources entailed.

There were 20 robberies and 10 aggravated assaults or batteries in July in the area around the station, from Racine to Broadway and Roscoe to Wellington, according to police data. Before July, Town Hall police cited "really fantastic" crime numbers for 2015.

Despite the recent uptick in crime, some Lakeview residents said they still feel safe in the neighborhood — particularly compared to other parts of the city or the Lakeview of years past.

"It's a lot better now than it used to be. Just don't go out after two in the morning, or you're looking for trouble," said John Riley, 56, who has lived in Lakeview all his life.

Annmarie Thomas, a former Edgewater resident, said her previous neighborhood means she's "not really fazed here" after her first year in Lakeview. "I don't wander out when the bars are closing, but I generally feel safe here."

Recent sexual assaults in Lincoln Park were on more neighbors' minds than the robberies.

"I don't know if I'm paying closer attention, but I do feel like I'm reading about more [crime]," said Katy Green, 31, who was walking with her family near Diversey and Sheffield on Monday afternoon.

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