This blog entry was contributed by Tom Stachula, Chicago Police Officer of the 14th District.
There is a local problem developing now that needs attention. Recently, robberies have picked up in the Wicker Park area. These robberies are not occurring in businesses, but to single individuals (mostly female) on the streets in our area. These attacks are occurring overnight and in the early hours of the morning. We need people to get the word out that these robberies are occurring...
(Individuals) walking the streets at night or in the early morning by themselves is not safe. I do understand that some people have no choice. This information should be used by everyone, and every time you walk the streets alone. Try to use public transportation, EL train, bus or even a taxi.
Be aware of your surroundings, who is on the street, is the street well lit. Please do not walk down alleys at night, try to stay on the busy streets. Do not walk around with ear piece's for I-pods, telephones or headsets on. You can not hear offenders approaching you with these items preoccupying your attention. This is tough to do since many people are accustomed to their way of doing things. The better prepared you are, the less likely you will become a victim. If you have to walk the street at these times have some form of personal protection with you. Purchase a canister of mace, and carry it in your hand until you get to your destination. Carry an item that makes a lot of noise, a whistle, hand held air-horn something that will scare off your attacker. If the street is that quiet, walk down the middle of the street. This will give you more time to react if an offender approaches you. Always be thinking of escape routes if approached. Carry your cell phone in your hand with a pre dialed 911, so all you have to do is hit send. this will save you time in dialing and always know where you are. ex: the 1600 block of Damen. this crucial since you will be under pressure when attacked, you will not have to think about it you can just scream it into the phone and help will be on the way. Better safe than sorry.
None of these methods are a guarantee that nothing can happen to you, they are just some tips to lessen your chances of being a victim. Hopefully these are some helpful tips to try and ensure your safety. Working together we can make Wicker Park safer for all of us.