Chicago Police Touting ‘Focused’ Approach to Stopping, Solving Armed Robberies

The Chicago Police Department released video of robbery suspects in incidents that occurred March 14-16, 2024. (Chicago Police / YouTube)The Chicago Police Department released video of robbery suspects in incidents that occurred March 14-16, 2024. (Chicago Police / YouTube)

Chicago police officials are touting a more “focused” approach to preventing and solving robberies and carjackings across the city.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Superintendent Larry Snelling and Mayor Brandon Johnson at a news conference Friday said police plan to be more proactive in targeting robbery crews that have struck repeatedly throughout the city.

“These robberies have created trauma for the victims and fear in our communities,” Snelling said. “We want everyone in this city to not only feel safe, but to actually be safe.”

While homicides and shootings across Chicago have fallen closer to pre-pandemic levels in recent years, robberies have remained stubbornly high. The 11,000-plus robberies reported in the city throughout 2023 marked a 23% increase over the previous year.

According to CPD data, robberies in 2024 are up about 2% compared to the same time in 2023, but the 2,170 robberies reported through the end of March is up 14% compared to 2022 and 28% compared to 2021.

Snelling said his department is emphasizing its reliance on technology — like pod cameras and license plate readers to track stolen vehicles — as well as community engagement and missions specifically targeting robbery suspects to help reduce these crimes.

Chief of Detectives Antoinette Ursitti said department officials have met regularly to discuss officer deployments and compile video evidence that can be released to the public in an effort to identify and arrest perpetrators.

Last month, the CPD released surveillance footage showing different groups who police believe committed dozens of robberies across a five-day span. The department last weekend also published community alerts warning of 18 separate robberies committed on the North and West sides between April 4-5.

“With most of these crimes, someone out there knows something,” Ursitti said. “This information can be vital in solving a case.”

Police have said the number of armed robberies involving a firearm this year has actually declined 11% compared to the same time in 2023.

Snelling said one area police want to emphasize is stopping carjackings and motor vehicle thefts, as stolen vehicles are often later used in secondary robberies.

The CPD this year has launched a series of vehicle safety days in which police work with private partners and businesses to aid vehicle owners in obtaining steering wheel locks, catalytic converter etchings and other theft prevention information.

Hours before Friday’s news conference, the department announced felony charges against four teens — who ranged in age from 13 to 18 — arrested in connection with an armed robbery Thursday morning in the 900 block of West Waveland Avenue.

Snelling said it’s “disturbing” to see juveniles involved in crimes.

“That’s not something that we ever want to find ourselves doing as a police agency, locking up children,” he said. “However, when these young children are engaging in violent acts — today’s juvenile robbery offender or shooter is tomorrow’s adult murderer. So we have to do something to catch our children very young so they don’t engage in these types of acts.”

A Safer City is supported, in part, by the Sue Ling Gin Foundation Initiative for Reducing Violence in Chicago.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors