WEST LOOP — Community leaders and neighbors can gather Saturday in the West Loop to talk about their concerns after several women escaped kidnapping attempts in recent weeks.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) will host the meeting 11 a.m. at Mary Bartelme Park, 115 S. Sangamon St. Residents can attend to voice their concerns and hear from local police.
The meeting will be at the north hill of the park and will last about an hour. Representatives from Ald. Walter Burnett Jr.’s (27th) office and members of the West Loop Community Organization and West Central Association will also be there.
“We are developing strategies that will speak to the immediate, as well as hopefully long-term strategies, because our communities are living in constant fear,” said Sigcho-Lopez, whose ward has been the site of the attempted abductions. “We keep hearing that … crime is down, but [that] does not bring the assurance that our constituents and residents need.”
Burnett, whose ward is near Bartelme Park, said he hopes the meeting will make people more aware and make them feel more informed about how they can be safe in their neighborhood.
The most recent kidnapping attempt happened Sunday when a man tried to grab a 45-year-old woman and pull her into a car in the 200 block of South Sangamon Street. The woman was able to fight off the man until a ridershare passenger approached and confronted him, police and the victim said.
Police charged a 32-year-old man Wednesday with attempted abduction in connection to that incident.
That incident occurred on the same stretch of Sangamon Street where a dog walker intervened to stop a different attempted kidnapping of a 30-year-old woman on Aug. 24.
Days before the Aug. 24 attempted kidnapping, neighbors also reported hearing a woman yelling “get off of me” and seeing a car drive off with its rear-door open in what appeared to be another kidnapping or an attack on a woman.
Neighbors described the tree-canopied stretch of Sangamon Street where the incidents occurred as a usually quiet block just west of Greektown.
Sigcho-Lopez said police will share “factual information” and safety tips with residents. A mental health provider will also be at the meeting to connect residents with services to address trauma.
“We need to do everything we can to prevent issues like this. I want residents to know that we are taking these matters very seriously,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Julie Darling, a board member of the West Loop Community Organization, said she hopes the meeting will be well attended.
“West Loop Community Organization takes personal safety seriously. We are working and continue to work with various departments on the topic,” Darling said. “Residents and citizens can expect to walk away with more information on what’s being done and what they can do for themselves.”
Police have recently added more patrols to the area, but many residents hope those patrols will be permanent, Darling said.
Armando Chacon, president of the West Central Association, said residents are likely to demand more resources and manpower be provided.
“The objective [is to] have an open conversation about what we can do collectively, with the city with our elected officials, with the Chicago Police Department and within ourselves as a community of wha we can do as citizens of the West Loop,” Chacon said.
Additional information on upcoming police meetings and monthly 25th ward public safety meetings will be shared for residents to attend in the future.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: