"Mob Violence" Has A New Meaning In Chicago These Days

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

There was a time when a reference to mob violence in the Windy City would have conjured up images of Al Capone and Johnny Torrio, but those days are long past. Now, its an entirely different kind of mob wreaking havoc on the streets of Chicago.

For over an hour Monday evening, police fielded dozens of calls about young people, often on Divvy bikes, who were robbing and randomly attacking people on the street. In one case, a Divvy bike employee said a group of teenagers punched him in the face when he refused to give them free bikes from his truck near North Avenue Beach.

At 8:37 p.m., a large group of teens attacked and robbed a 40-year-old man on Madison just east of State Street, according to Chicago police. Several other attacks were reported across the Loop between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to CPD dispatch records.

Police have handled similar waves of attacks in the downtown area on Saturday nightSunday, and again Monday.

Officers arrested six juveniles after three violent robberies unfolded in the Loop early Monday. Four of the teens were released without being charged. Another was released after being ticketed for possessing a BB gun, and the sixth was held on an outstanding warrant, a CPD spokesperson said.

According to Chicago police, a mob of up to 10-12 teenagers is responsible for the random robberies and assaults, but the CPD hasn’t explained why the vast majority of juveniles who were arrested released without charges. Of course, given the fact that these are minors, the odds are that even if they’d been formally charged they would quickly be released from juvenile custody.

It’s no wonder that, according to one new poll, crime is the top concern of Chicago residents. It’s also not exactly a shock to learn that respondents to that poll place most of the blame for the unacceptable levels of violence squarely at the feet of officials like Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

About 45.9% of those polled disapprove of the job Lightfoot is doing as mayor, 42.5% approve of her performance and another 10.8% are unsure or have no opinion.

These numbers represent a shift from the start of the summer. On June 1, Lightfoot’s approval rating among Chicago voters was 48%.

Also under water with Chicago residents, but by a much wider margin, is Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Just 34.7% of Chicagoans polled approve of the job the county’s top prosecutor is doing overall, 47.7% disapprove and 15.9% are unsure or have no opinion.

According to the WGN/Emerson poll, crime is the top concern for 42% of respondents, far ahead of other issues like the city’s handling of COVID-19 (12%), education and schools (7.8%), and police reform (7.2%).

While high crime rates aren’t exactly a new phenomenon in Chicago, there’s a growing sense of lawlessness fueled not only by juvenile crime, but adults who are accused of committing violent crimes while out on bond or while they’re on probation.

Take the case of Andrew White; a Chicago man who’s waiting for his trial on armed robbery charges to begin. White was on home electronic monitoring so that authorities could keep track of him, but that didn’t stop him from allegedly leaving his home with a gun this week.

While still on electronic monitoring this week, White just happened to walk into a gangway where two Chicago cops were on patrol, Auguste said. White saw the cops and took off running with a crossbody bag that looked like it was “weighted down,” according to Auguste. They caught him in an alley and found his bag under a nearby car, Auguste said.

The bag allegedly contained a loaded handgun that was equipped with an extended ammunition magazine.

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged him with Class X armed habitual criminal, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and resisting police.

According to the website CWB Chicago, White is just 22-years old yet he’s already facing charges of being a habitual criminal as well as being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. And White is far from the only young adult in Chicago with a lengthy rap sheet, which is a big part of Chicago’s problem. As long as officials like Lori Lightfoot are willing to excuse violent criminals while blaming lawful gun owners for the city’s crime, things aren’t likely to get much better anytime soon.

Chicago residents should be praying for an early winter, since violent crime tends to drop with the temperature. Sadly, Mother Nature might be the city’s best defense against the wave of violence taking place (well, that and getting your concealed carry license, which unfortunately will take most folks many months thanks to the backlog of applications). She certainly can’t be less effective than the city’s mayor and top prosecutor have been, and the public appears to be taking notice.