Chicago police are investigating a series of armed robberies that targeted at least nine people, including an off-duty police officer.
In Portage Park, neighbors tell NBC 5 they’re aware of what happened at approximately 10:20 p.m. Monday when the officer was robbed while getting out of his car.
“This is really bad,” said Loretta, a resident of Portage Park who didn’t want to use her last name. “We can’t live like this, people don’t even want to go out.”
Chicago police said the off-duty officer was getting out of his car near LeClair Avenue and Belmont at approximately 10:19 p.m. Monday, when he was approached by a black Nissan.
Four men got out of the car, all armed with guns. They robbed the officer and took off. He was not injured in the incident, police said.
Similar robberies took place throughout the city within a two-hour span. Robberies were also reported in Pilsen, Little Italy, Bridgeport and Chatham. It’s not clear if the same crew was responsible.
“In this day and age, you really need to be very safe and cautious,” said Sean Ahrens, a security expert based north of Chicago.
He advises people to clear their vehicles of valuables, especially during the holiday season when residents may be shopping more.
He also encourages keeping your cell phone out of sight, so you are more aware. Only use one earbud or headphone, so you can hear what’s happening around you at all times.
Most importantly, stay completely alert.
“If you’re looking around, have situational awareness, you are hardening the target. That individual that may be contemplating an attack, may wait for someone else who isn’t paying attention,” Ahrens explained.
Chicago Police continue to investigate the crimes. So far, no one is in custody.