By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — Five people were in custody Thursday morning, after an off-duty police officer was carjacked in the Edgewater neighborhood overnight.

Police said the officer, a 47-year-old woman, was parking her personal vehicle shortly after midnight near Winthrop and Ardmore, just down the street from a playground and an elementary school, when five to seven men demanded her Lexus at gunpoint.

They took the keys out of her hand, jumped in the SUV, and sped off.

Officers in a neighboring district spotted the stolen car, and followed it south on Lake Shore Drive until backup arrived. The suspects ditched the vehicle near 55th Street and Shore Drive, and tried to run away.

Five suspects were arrested a short time later. The victim’s vehicle was recovered, and police also found a gun linked to the robbery. Charges were pending Thursday morning.

The carjacking happened just down the street from Swift Elementary School. People who live nearby said they feel better knowing the perps might be off the streets in this case.

“Sometimes I walk like midnight also, early in the day also. So I don’t feel any scared,” Edgewater resident Pushp Yadav said. “The police are there, and they are finding who are behind this kind of stuff.”

With a guard helping students xxx, and barricades keeping cars off the street in front of school, children at Swift appeared to be under watchful eyes Thursday morning. Edgewater residents give safety a top grade in their community.

“I’ve never heard of such like that in this neighborhood before. Sincerely. It has been a peaceful and calm neighborhood,” Edgewater mom Haleemah Musbaudeen said.

Carjackings have plagued several North Side neighborhoods in recent weeks, with at least 10 other incidents in the past 2 ½ weeks.

Despite the headlines, Edgewater resident Jacob Hoag said he believes police have been doing a better job of catching carjackers lately.

“I think the police have, from what I can tell from news reports, have in fact improved their ability to stop these kinds of crimes, or to catch them when they occur,” he said.

Indeed, police said carjacking arrests are up 33 percent from 2017.

Lauren Victory