CAPS officers give tips on reducing theft, talk about October shooting

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

CAPS Sgt. Anthony Dombrowski talks to a meeting of New Eastside residents in November. Photo by Jesse Wright

 

On Nov. 8, the First District CAPS program held its last meeting of the year.

According to the monthly data, thefts saw the biggest upward swing across the four beats in the district though aside from thefts, most other reported crimes ticked downward or stayed about the same.

CAPS Community Relations Officer Sgt. Anthony Dombrowski said a lot of the thefts are crime of opportunity and the sergeant spent time revisiting familiar ground, speaking to a handful of residents about various ways they could prevent being victims.

“People will be walking around with their cellphone in their hand,” Dombrowski said. “People have a habit of doing that, especially young people because they’re married to the device. … It’s easy to take it out of your hand. People can see you’re not aware as maybe you should be.”

He suggested people keep their valuables out of sight.

A resident asked the police whether kids selling candy—ostensibly for charity—along Michigan Avenue is legitimate. Dombrowski said that technically nobody is allowed to solicit along Michigan Avenue, but it’s also not a high priority for the police.

“Are a couple of 10-year-old kids selling candy on Michigan Avenue a criminal enterprise? Maybe, but we’re not focused on that,” Dombrowski said.

Another resident asked Dombrowski about a shooting in late October that on Saturday afternoon on Wabash. The sergeant said he believes the victim—who survived—was the intended target, though police also have no suspects and no motive for the attack because the victim said he has no idea why he was a target.

“We don’t know why the person was targeted or why he was shot,” Dombrowski said of the victim, a university student.

Dombrowski said it’s rare to have a shooting in downtown Chicago and even more rare to have one in the middle of the day while the streets are crowded with visitors and residents and because of that, he believes this was not a random attack.

“We have to start thinking about why,” Dombrowski said. “It’s unusual for someone to start shooting at one person.”

Dombrowski explained that if the shooting is indeed random, the shooter will hit multiple people in a crowd, and he used the Borderline Bar and Grill mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California as an example of a random shooting incident.

“The kids are out at a bar; they’re having a good time and a guy comes in and starts shooting,” Dombrowski said. “And he shoots everybody. So why does he shoot one person? We have no idea.”

The sergeant also said the victim in the Wabash shooting might not have been honest with investigators.

“Quite often, the reason that the clearance rate on homicides is so low in Chicago is because we struggle to get cooperation from the victims,” Dombrowski said. “So sometimes they struggle to be completely honest with us.”

However, he said police are concerned with the Wabash shooting.

As ever, so-called bucket boys were again a topic of concern for residents. Each month residents complaint about the drummers who beat on makeshift drum kids in front of the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue. In November, a woman said the drummers—a group that has permits to perform and which is popular among downtown visitors—annoys residents at night.

“There’s no easy solution and we have a whole city that supports them,” Dombrowski said.

There will be no CAPS meeting in December. The next CAPS meeting will be in Jan. 10 at 400 E. Randolph St. To keep up with district policing, follow them on Twiter at @ChicagoCAPS01.

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