LOGAN SQUARE — One night last week, a 33-year-old woman was walking home from the Spaulding exit of the Logan Square Blue Line when a man started tugging at her laptop bag.
"I turned around, thinking it was someone who knew me. I was in shock when I realized it was someone I didn't know," said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons.
It happened after a snowfall around 7 p.m. Jan. 9 in the 2500 block of North Spaulding Avenue, a quiet block lined with vintage flats.
The man, who appeared to be in his 20s, kept pulling on her bag, but she refused to let go — even after falling to the ground.
"It was like a tug-of-war," the woman said.
It wasn't until she started screaming for help that the man gave up and "jetted down the block like nobody's business" with another man, who appeared to be watching the tussle from farther down the block, she said.
The woman's story is becoming all too common in Logan Square.
Last year, robberies in the Shakespeare Police District hit a four-year high, according to Chicago Police Department data. The district includes Logan Square, as well as parts of Humboldt Park, Avondale, Wicker Park and Bucktown.
In 2016, the district saw 484 reported robberies between January and November, up from 301 the previous year, a 60 percent increase. (The percentage is likely higher because December data wasn't included when DNAinfo Chicago compiled year-end crime statistics last month.)
That's compared to 355 robberies in 2014 and 446 in 2013, according to the data, which goes back to 2013 because that's the first full year when the current police beat boundaries went into effect.
The Police Department defines a robbery as taking or attempting to take anything of value under confrontational circumstances from the control, custody or care of another person. Robberies involve force or the threat of force or violence by putting the victim in fear of immediate harm.
Logan Square and the surrounding area also saw more shootings last year than they have in recent years.
In 2016, the Shakespeare Police District had 80 shootings, up from 51 in 2015; 52 in 2014; and 50 in 2013, according to the data.
Shootings spiked across Chicago last year. The number of shooting incidents and the number of people shot this year both rose by about 47 percent compared with the previous year, according to data compiled by DNAinfo.
The robbery victim walking home from the Blue Line said the incident changed the way she'll navigate the city. She said she won't be leaving home without some sort of tool that can be used for self-defense, whether it be pepper spray or a pocket knife.
"You don't think it's going to happen to you until it does. It's a reality check," she said. "I'm taking a different route for now. I'm taking more main streets."
A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department was unavailable for comment Monday due to the holiday.
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