BUCKTOWN — A handful of crimes have been reported by users of the 2.7-mile long elevated Bloomingdale Trail since the year started, Shakespeare District police told residents at a community meeting on Wednesday.
Sgt. Adam Henkels, who runs the Shakespeare District CAPS office, shared details of the incidents with a few dozen Bucktown residents at a "Beat 1434" gathering in the library, 1701 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Among the crimes that have occurred on the trail since January:
• A man on a bike slapped a jogger's rear as she was running in the 2900 block of West Bloomingdale.
• A strong-arm robbery along the 1900 block of West Bloomingdale Avenue led to a foot chase resulting in an arrest.
• On Feb. 6, there was another strong-arm robbery at the western end of the trail, in the 1800 block of North Lawndale Ave.
• Last week, a man's phone was stolen.
In that incident, the man was walking on the trail when he was approached by another man who asked if he could borrow the man's phone to make a call.
The man asked the man what the number was that he was intending to call, dialed it, and gave his phone to the man, who talked on the phone with someone as the two continued to walk on the trail.
When the call ended, the man asked for his phone back.
According to Henkels, the man replied,"'You don't want it back. If you take it, I'll shoot you.'"
With the warm weather approaching, more police on bikes and ATVS will be patrolling the entire district, including the elevated trail, Henkels said.
A Shakespeare lieutenant who was at the meeting on Wednesday told residents that 20 officers are being trained to use the all-terrain vehicles and six are trained for cycling.
"That doesn't mean all of those will be up there at the same time," he said.
Henkels said that officers are visiting the trail in mornings and afternoons and doing two loops of the trail, while ATVS are being used in the off peak hours.
"We've gotten positive feedback about the ATVs. During high-volume times, we will lean toward bicycles. And in the evening we are leaning to the ATVs for closing [time]," the lieutenant said.
The 606 trail, like all Park District parks, closes at 11 p.m. daily — an issue that has upset some cyclists who want it to be an all-hours commuter path.
The trail opened in June 2015 and will be celebrating its second year this June.
Henkels said a special meeting for residents who live in "beats" along the trail (1421, 1422, 1433 and 1434) is set for 6 p.m. April 27 in the auditorium of the Shakespeare Police District (14th), 2150 N. California Ave.