“It’s extremely frustrating,” Thompson said.
Since Jan. 12, robbers have targeted at least five neighborhood businesses, including Bridgeport Bakery on Archer and the Family Dollar discount store at 3431 S. Halsted St.
The spate of robberies shows a need for more officers on the streets, Thompson said.
“We need more police,” Thompson said. “We need more police, so people regain their confidence.”
Since the rash of robberies spread through the neighborhood, Thompson's office has received many calls from concerned 11th Ward residents.
“In our community, this is a big deal,” Thompson said. “If you get held up at gunpoint, that’s seconds away from something really bad happening.”
That’s what happened just after 5 a.m. Jan. 19 at Bridgeport Bakery, 2907 S. Archer Ave., when man in a black hoodie and ski mask walked in with a gun and robbed the place.
The robber got away with a little more than $70 in $20 bills and smaller change, leaving the woman behind the counter shaken. It was the first robbery in the store’s four-decade history.
The most recent business robberies happened Wednesday.
At 10:16 a.m. a robber wearing a black mask and black hoodie walked into Family Dollar, told the cashier behind the counter he had gun and demanded money from the register, police said. He got away with an unknown amount of cash.
No one was hurt, and detectives are investigating, police said.
Police said the same robber also hit the Subway in the 3900 block of South Archer Avenue at 10:52 a.m. Wednesday.
He is described as a 20- to 30-year old black man, between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-2, weighing 160 to 180 pounds, police said. He had a black afro and wore a black hooded sweatshirt, black jeans with a design on the rear right pocket and red gloves with the fingertips cut off.
“There are a lot of people that are desperate,” Thompson said. “They come here because they know it’s a safe community.”
Thompson said he will work with the Deering Police District to add police cameras, install streetlights and put more police in patrol cars.
“My priority is public safety,” Thompson said.
At an October City Council briefing, Mayor Rahm Emanuel shared plans for police hiring with aldermen. The mayor vowed to hire 545 police officers this year and another 450 in 2018.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson later confirmed the hiring of 970 new police personnel over the next two years. By adding 100 new recruits a month through 2018 to also address attrition and 400 vacant positions, Johnson said the department will go from 12,656 sworn officers to 13,535.
On Thursday, in what was touted by city officials as one of the largest graduating classes from the police training academy since Emanuel took office six years ago, 108 full-time officers joined the Police Department.