Retail Thefts Rise in Downtown Chicago

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March 5, 2024

The number of retail thefts recorded across downtown Chicago in 2023, including in the city’s major footfall and retail business areas, have seen a significant increase of nearly 12% since 2022. The top five locations of retail theft occurred within either police district 1 or 18. Perpetrators of these crimes have chosen to target areas within these districts that are nearby the Loop or the Magnificent Mile, where the majority of the city’s largest hospitality, retail, and financial institutions are located. Small retail stores and department stores were the most frequented targets of attack.

Although the Chicago Police Department has deployed additional armed officers and K-9 teams on patrols in a separate effort to combat a general uptick in crime and violence along key transit areas nearby in 2023, these measures have not translated into the reduction in thefts at overlapping business establishments and shopping centers in the downtown area.

Private businesses along the Magnificent Mile and nearby areas continue to improve security cameras, scale security guard headcount, and implement a new type of non-shattering glass for storefronts that have assisted in safeguarding their retail establishments.

As of February 2024, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has not yet introduced any additional measures to address the rise in retail thefts seen over the last two years. The Chicago Police Department currently occupies about 7% of all combined city and agency budgets that the major controls.

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