Theft, bucket boys come up at CAPS Meeting

By Elizabeth Czapski, Staff Writer

Published October 2, 2018

Theft, ridesharing and street performers were topics of discussion at the September Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting in the 1st District.

 

Theft made up more than half of the district’s crime from Aug. 10 to Sept. 13, and pickpockets account for a lot of those thefts, according to Sgt. Anthony Dombrowski.

 

Dombrowski said pickpockets are attracted to crowded locations, like restaurants, where people aren’t as focused on their personal safety.

 

Thieves also target people whose valuable items are visible.

 

“You should try to be as circumspect as possible with your personal possessions,” Dombrowski said. “I would say 50 percent of our robberies are because people are exposing their cell phone.”

 

Another concern was brought up by a resident, who asked about fake Uber and Lyft drivers in the city.

 

Dombrowski said fake drivers are most often out late at night and early in the morning, looking for intoxicated people to victimize. During the day, actual Uber and Lyft drivers are victimized when they open their car doors and people come into the car to steal items, he added.

 

Dombrowski said he doesn’t think fake Uber and Lyft drivers are a safety issue as long as passenger are taking common sense precautions. Passengers should verify the driver’s identity before getting into the car, he said.

 

Another resident raised concerns about the bucket boys downtown. Using a meter, they measured 100 decibels near the bucket boys, which the resident said could harm hearing.

 

Dombrowski said dealing with this issue is challenging.

 

“The municipal code is very clumsy and very difficult to enforce,” he said. The noise is irritating to many who live and work in the area, but the bucket boys receive a lot of monetary support from people downtown, he said.

 

Dombrowski said people who are not bothered by loud street performances think it’s “charming.”

 

He said the solution is unclear, but being able to quantify the noise level is “wonderful” and suggested the resident contact the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

“These different lifestyles, these different activities are clashing with people that want to live a normal life in downtown Chicago,” he said. “Where’s the balance in that? I don’t know.”

 

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