Sgt. Anthony Dombrowski discussed theft, ridesharing and street performers with residents at the September Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting in the 001st District.
According to Dombrowski, pickpockets are very effective, and theft made up more than half of the district’s crime from Aug. 10 to Sept. 13.
Dombrowski said pickpockets tend to go to crowded locations such as a restaurants where people aren’t focused on their personal safety.
Theft, he said, is better than robbery, where violence can occur.
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.”
A resident asked about fake Uber and Lyft drivers in the city.
Dombrowski said fake Ubers and Lyfts are most often out during the late night and early morning, looking for intoxicated people to victimize. During the day, real Uber and Lyft drivers are victimized when drivers open their car doors and people come into the car and steal items, he added.
Passengers should look at the car’s stickers and verify the driver’s identity before getting into the car, Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski said he doesn’t think fake Uber and Lyft drivers are a big safety concern as long as the passenger is taking common sense precautions.
A resident raised concerns about the bucket beaters downtown. The resident said they bought a decibel meter and measured 100 decibels near the bucket beaters, which they 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 at the same time, the bucket beaters receive a lot of monetary support from people downtown, he said.
Dombrowski said people who are not affected by loud street performances think it’s “charming.” He said the solution is unclear, but being able to quantify the level of noise is “wonderful” and suggested the resident contact the Environmental Protection Agency.
“These different lifestyles, these different activities are clashing with people that wanna live a normal life in downtown Chicago. Where’s the balance in that? I don’t know,” he said.