It has become a weekly tradition for me to discuss the armed robberies and other crime that plagues Oak Park, IL, despite that village’s longstanding handgun ban. This last week was sadly no different, with 5 armed robberies and 2 unarmed robberies reported:
- On Monday morning, a gunman walked into the Oberweis Ice Cream shop on Oak Park Avenue and declared that “this is a stickup.” He first stole $80 from the cash register and then $700 from the safe, before instructing the employee to lay face down on the floor as he fled.
- On Monday evening, two 16 year old boys from Forest Park and Chicago were arrested after attempting to rob a man on the 300 block of North Oak Park Avenue with a pellet gun, as the man was unloading groceries from his car.
- Early on Wednesday afternoon, a post office employee was robbed by an armed criminal in the vestibule of a building on the first block of North Austin Boulevard. After the criminal threatened to shoot the postal employee, he gave up $141 and the criminal escaped.
- On Wednesday at around 7:15 P.M., a man was traveling Westbound on the CTA Blue Line in Oak Park when two criminals displayed a handgun and demanded his money. The man gave up $60 and the robbers escaped.
- On Wednesday, a boy was riding the Blue Line at about 8:25 P.M. when a pair of criminals pushed a handgun against his stomach and robbed him. The boy lost $20, his CTA card, and a laptop computer worth $1,100. The criminals escaped in this robbery as well.
Unarmed Robberies (of a sort)
- On February 9, a woman on the 200 block of North Kenilworth around 5:30 a.m. was grabbed around the neck by a young male attacker who demanded her property. When the woman struggled and screamed, the suspect ran off and escaped.
- An unidentified teen walked up behind a woman on the CTA Green Line platform at Austin, February 14, and snatched her iPhone from her hand as she talked on it.
Once again, this week’s crime in “gun free” Oak Park shows that passing a law which restricts gun ownership only effects the law abiding citizens, who weren’t going to commit a crime in the first place. The people who will pistol whip, shoot, carjack, or rob innocent people won’t think twice about some municipal ordinance that tells them they can’t have a gun, just as they disregard the laws that prohibit armed robbery, murder, etc. As a result, criminals know that Oak Park is where they can go to find unarmed victims, as criminals like easy targets and fear armed citizens who can defend themselves.
Finally, I would note that the idea of armed Oak Park citizens being better able to defend themselves that those that are unarmed is not just some hypothetical that I’ve come up with, but rather demonstrated fact. Over the last year in Oak Park, there have been two reported cases of illegally armed people stopping a racist attacker and stopping an armed robber. These citizens were breaking both state and local laws by carrying a handgun, but by doing so they manged to save themselves from unprovoked and violent attacks. It is a sad situation indeed when only those willing to break the law are able to defend themselves – and then have to fear prosecution for doing so.