Updated 07/05/11 – 10:11 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents of Lakeview and Boystown have been expressing concerns with what they say is an uptick in violence in the area, but Chicago police said Tuesday night that a weekend attack and stabbing on Halsted Street was an isolated incident.
As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, at a Tuesday evening press conference, Town Hall District Police Cmdr. Kathleen Boehmer said police are working several leads in the case. No arrests had been made, however, as of Tuesday night.
Boehmer said police were working on putting more foot, bicycle and tactical officers on the beats in the wake of a brawl and stabbing in Boystown over the weekend.
“The area got some more officers, which allows us to be more creative in how we deploy our officers, because our area deputy chief’s assisting us with the deployments,” Boehmer said.
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She also said police were working on several leads after a fight broke out on the 3300 block of North Halsted Street just before midnight Saturday night, leading to the stabbing of a 25-year-old man. The man was surrounded by a large group of people who kicked and stabbed him.
As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, the attack was caught on videotape and Boehmer said that should help police catch the attackers. She said the stabbing was an isolated incident and was not related to two other stabbings in the area last month.
She did, however, acknowledge, a rise in other crimes in the area in recent weeks.
“We’re going to work to make sure that appropriate resources are deployed in the area. We have, in June, had a little uptick in robberies, which we’re addressing by putting the appropriate resources at the appropriate time,” she said. “And we’re also going to receive some additional resources from the deputy chief’s office to make sure that the area continues to be safe and that the public realizes, continues to realize that this is a safe neighborhood.”
But a friend of the victim told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot that attacks like the one this weekend have been common in the neighborhood.
“Believe it or not, this happens a lot,” John Hickman said of the attack on his friend. “I must say, that this is the first time someone was stabbed, that’s why it caught the news. But the group that you see and how the rowdiness was going on, it’s your standard everyday in Boystown.”
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Hickman said his friend is at the center of the attack caught on video. He said that, for the past several months, incidents like this have been happening all the time in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Boehmer flatly denied Hickman’s claim that such attacks are common in the Lakeview community, but police sources had earlier backed up Hickman’s claim, adding that many of the attacks have involved teenaged assailants.
“It’s just like a little gang clique. I mean, everybody’s staying together and they’ve got they’re groups of friends, and that’s pretty much it,” Hickman said.
In a phone interview, the victim said the stabbing happened after an exchange of words between two groups, after a smart allecky comment was made.
“It was just a lot of people in a group kind of egging it on,” Hickman said.
The victim was still recovering at a hospital on Tuesday. He said suffered a collapsed lung as a result of the stabbing. He also has a chest tube.
“This is the first time that I have personally seen blood shed the way it was,” Hickman said.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) issued a statment that says in part: “I am extremely concerned about the recent attacks that have taken place in our neighborhood. … Police are working to put more foot, bicycle and tactical officers on the beat.”
In the wake of the stabbing on the Boystown strip of North Halsted Street, large crowds are expected to turn out for a monthly CAPS meeting to discuss public safety concerns.
A monthly CAPS meeting originally scheduled to be held at the Town Hall District police station at 850 W. Addison St. has been moved to the nearby Inter-American Elementary School auditorium at 851 W. Waveland Av., because of larger expected crowds.
Hickman said he has seen a larger police presence in Lakeview. Meantime, Tunney said that Wednesday’s 7 p.m. CAPS meeting, the focus will be ways to combat crime in the community. The Town Hall District police commander will also be at the meeting.