by Stephanie Racine

Streeterville police want to work with residents to help keep them safe.

After a slew of violent muggings and surprise carjackings in Streeterville at the end of December and beginning of January, 18th district police held a community meeting on January 11 to discuss safety tips, plus the efforts being made to combat crime in the area.  

Officer Theresa Kelly led the talk, with help from Detective Colin O’Shea. They both emphasized the notion of being aware. 

“Maintain awareness of the people and circumstances around you,” said Kelly. 

A gut feeling of feeling in danger is oftentimes a sign of fear, according to Kelly, and trusting that gut feeling is often wise.

Detective O’Shea noted that using a phone while you walk can be dangerous and unsafe in several ways. 

“Stealing a phone is an instant $100 to $200,” said O’Shea. 

Paying too much attention can also make you unaware and make you look like an easy target. Shoulders are hunched, attention is on the phone and hands are occupied. 

O’Shea and Kelly also warned residents to be wary of any solicited donations—it can be a sleight of hand trick to steal something. If you want to help the community, research what official charities are in the area, and donate or volunteer there. 

“Carry as little on you as possible,” said Kelly. 

Kelly and O’Shea recommended carrying portable alarm systems that make a loud noise when pressed. They are available for under $10 on Amazon, but Kelly reminded the crowd to keep the alarm in your hand—not in your bag or pocket—so it can be easily accessed. 

Keeping a purse or bag on your weaker shoulder is advised by Kelly and O’Shea. Having your stronger hand free is recommended. Cross-body bags should only be worn under coats—thieves will take victims down in their attempts to steal purses. 

Many residents were grateful for the advice, but wanted to know how the police are going to respond to these attacks.

Commander Daniel O’Shea was also present and he assured the attendees that they had asked for more resources from the city, including more officers, both uniformed and plain-clothed. 

Alderman Brian Hopkins said he was working with police to make sure they would get those resources. Hopkins said he had received a phone call from the Mayor’s office approving extra police resources in Streeterville during the meeting. 

Police reminded the crowd to always call 911 if they see anything suspicious. They also reminded residents to attend CAPS meetings to further discuss ongoing crime in the area. 

The next CAPS meeting for Streeterville is on at 6 p.m., March 5, at Access Living, 115 W. Chicago Ave.

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