Robberies are down 19 percent this year, Chicago police officials announced Thursday.
The decrease is due, at least in part, to a heightened focus on specialized “robbery mission teams” — plainclothes officers assigned to conduct surveillance, connect the dots on robbery patterns and deploy to “hot spots” in order to be in the right place at the right time to make arrests.
“The reason that we are so focused on robberies is because if we look at our shootings … murders … the violence that happens across the city — 90 percent of that is people who are involved in street gangs or involved in that kind of a lifestyle,” First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio said at a news conference.
“But when we look at robberies, those are innocent people, those are people walking down the street, going to work, coming home from work, leaving a restaurant, going about their daily lives … it really impacts the every day citizens in the city,” he said.
In the 19th District, robberies are down 20 percent — which equates to 110 fewer robberies compared to last year.
In 10 Chicago police districts, robberies were at an 18-year low.
“The guy that goes out and commits a robbery today is probably going to go out and commit a robbery tomorrow and the next day until we take him into custody,” Riccio said.
And robbery arrests are up, he pointed out — 45 in the last week alone.
That number includes a 22-year-old man and a 17-year-old juvenile arrested Saturday not far from DePaul University and charged with committing six armed robberies over the course of several hours, 19th District Commander Marc Buslik said.
Victims from the robberies — none of whom were injured — were able to make positive identifications.
“The nice thing about a robbery is that it tends to be a face-to-face crime,” Buslik said.
Detectives believe the duo are responsible for more.