Ald. Timmy Knudsen (43rd) is sworn into the Chicago City Council at a City Council meeting on Sept. 21, 2022. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

LINCOLN PARK — Ald. Timmy Knudsen is asking the mayor for more officers to patrol Lincoln Park amid a spike in robberies.

The alderman wrote a letter to Mayor Brandon Johnson last week asking for more cops to be assigned to the Near North (18th) police district to better staff the beats within his ward.

The 43rd Ward saw a 17 percent increase in robberies last year, according to Chicago Police data. Since 2021, the police district has also seen a 21 percent decrease in assigned officers, resulting in a loss of 74 neighborhood cops.

“The resultant loss of regular, reliable and predictable beat patrolling and timely response 911 calls combined with a stark rise in violent crime is of utmost concern to my constituents,” Knudsen said in his letter, citing the city’s data on robbery victimizations, which count the number of people affected by a crime.

Knudsen’s request for more officers comes amid a recent spike in robberies across Lincoln Park, with at least 32 robberies reported since June 1, according to Chicago Police data. The neighborhood also saw a mass shooting near the zoo in June.

Knudsen called on Johnson, who is considering three nominees to replace Interim Police Supt. Fred Waller, to choose someone with an “enlightened and creative community policing strategy” that will deploy officers equitably throughout Chicago.

“It should be combined with a commitment to invest in innovative technology and enhanced civilianization (to fill manpower gaps), violence prevention strategies, as well as education, jobs and other resources [and] opportunities for youth in communities that have been disenfranchised by the pandemic and disinvested in for decades,” Knudsen said.

A spokesperson for Knudsen said Monday he had not heard from the mayor’s office since sending the letter. The mayor’s office did not return a request for comment.

Commander Michael Barz answers questions with Ald. Timmy Knudsen during a “Conversation with the Commander” event. Credit: Provided/43rd Ward Office

Knudsen, who was elected in April to his first full term, highlighted public safety as his top priority while on the campaign trail. His first move as alderman after being appointed to the role last fall was to reallocate the ward’s menu money to fund more security cameras.

Knudsen recently held a “Conversations with the Commander” event at DePaul University where neighbors could get to know Near North District Commander Michael Barz, who was appointed to the role in June.

“Commander Barz has jumped into the role immediately,” Knudsen said. “Not only has he assigned a consistent patrol car to sit in the Armitage/Halsted corridor, but he is working to bring back a level of foot and bike patrol that we have not seen in the 43rd Ward in years.”

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