Safety in the South Loop

Chicago Police Department

Chicago Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What seemed to be like any normal day at the CNA Building on Van Buren and Wabash took a turn for the unexpected when an unidentified man in baggy clothes appeared to be trying to steal a fake plant from inside their lobby.

“This was not in my job description,” said Miguel Rodriguez, the security personnel for the building. “I could tell the man was drunk or was on some type of drugs. He was stumbling towards the tree.”

The CNA building’s security officers have encountered vandalism and theft before; however, never theft with a person who was not in the proper state of mind.

Rodriguez said the man was talking and almost caressing the fake tree. He appeared to be whispering to it something along the lines of “you will protect me,” said Rodriguez.

Many offices and buildings in the South Loop have encountered crime like the CNA building. Anywhere from vandalism to theft occurs regularly.

According to, a web site that tracks crime, residents in the South Loop reported 104 crimes from Jan. 30 through Feb. 7. The most common crimes during that period were theft, burglary and simple battery, the web site reported.

The South Loop is currently known as “Museum Campus” because the amount of museums and campuses. It could be hard to imagine the South Loop was originally known as “Satin’s Mile” due to the famous red-light district in late-19th century according to the Chicago Reader.

Juliet Roberts, 27, who lives in the South Loop, had her iPhone stolen last Tuesday from her purse on the Red Line.

“Someone on the train had to have gone into my purse without me looking and grabbed it,” said Roberts. “Luckily for me, I had the tracking application on my phone.”

Roberts said that an unidentified person stole her phone and tried to sell it back to a pawn shop where police officers retrieved it for her.

Northwest of the South Loop is Logan Square, known for its distinctive style of architecture, “eclecticism”, which was inspired by immigrants according to Logan Square Preservation, a nonprofit community organization dedicated to educating citizens about architecture, history and beautification.

Residents in Logan Square; however, reported 165 crimes from Jan. 30 through Feb. 7. Within the week of Feb. 6 through the 10th, 117 crimes were reported according to The largest amount of crimes in Logan Square were; burglary, theft, and simple assault.

Police Officer Mary Panick, who’s served in the Chicago Police Department for 25 years, has been with the 1st District in Chicago since 1990. The hot spots, locations with most theft, through the South Loop are areas within zones one, two, and three.

Zone one’s grid is: Van Buren to Dearborn, Dearborn to Lake and Lake back to Van Buren. Zone two is Dearborn to Prairie and then around the Lake Front in the North. Zone three is the largest zone in all of the Chicagoland area. It starts at Van Buren and goes down to 25th Street, around McCormick Place, up towards Meigs Field, then to Prairie and up further to Van Buren.

Panick said zones such as these are a “candyland” for thieves looking to strong-arm, or forcibly steal trending items of interest and personal belongings. Panick, who is also a domestic violence liaison officer, advises that people keep any and all electronic devices out-of-site as not to draw unwanted attention.

“It’s all about your personal safety,” Panick said. “You’re the victims out there.”


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