Chicago residents are on high alert as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is hunting for a gang of young men, and at least one woman, who are responsible for violent attacks against public transportation users.
The first attack, which occurred around 11:40 p.m. on June 4, left a University of Illinois at Chicago student bruised and beaten at a bus stop near the campus. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has apprehended several of the teen suspects, but the attacks have only increased, with the latest of several incidents occurring as late as June 9.
Witnesses to the crimes report similar details in the attacks, as the gang always surrounds, viciously assaults, and then robs their victims. Even more troubling is the fact that the gang almost always makes a clean escape, whether the attack happens on a moving train, a public bus, or on platforms and at designated stops for public transit.
While Chicago is the current focus, citizens and storeowners in cities throughout the nation have been victimized by similar mob robberies. Violent teen mobs have been reported in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. “We need to make sure that young people have something productive to do, supervised activities, so that they’re not engaging in crime,” said Alderman Will Burns, 4th Ward, to the media during a recent city council meeting.
Recently elected Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy, Chicago’s new police superintendent, say they are overseeing round the clock efforts to stop the violence and ensure public safety. Also, law enforcement officials are emphasizing that, while these attacks are hard to prevent, citizens can lessen their chances of being victimized by not traveling with headphones in both ears, as this decreases the awareness of surroundings. Also, traveling alone or after dark in unfamiliar places is never recommended.