After carjackings increased across the Chicago area in recent weeks, a community group is pushing for heightened security at gas stations.
The group, I'm Telling, Don't Shoot, called the movement "Operation Safe Pump," which asks security to be stationed at area gas stations to monitor for oncoming carjacking crimes.
“We are here so that no other women or person has to ever endure that trauma in their lives,” said 16th Ward Alderman Stephanie Coleman, who has partnered with the group.
“This is just an initiative that we are basically doing to have an extra set of eyes and ears that are watching what they’re not watching,” said Early Walker, founder of I’m Telling, Don’t Shoot.
The plan is to have a security presence at troubled gas stations every night until further notice. Kates Security is providing at least one officer in a marked car to at least 17 gas station locations in hopes to deter crime.
“Our hope is to spread throughout he North Side, South Side, East Side, West Side, and the suburbs,” Walker said. “This is not just an Englewood issue. As we know, this is a county wide issue.”
Walker said he is hoping other security agencies will join in on the expansion. He said he hopes that by next week, they will have 50 gas station locations with heightened security.
New surveillance video showed another violent carjacking at a gas station just hours after Chicago Police announced plans to add more detectives and more resources to get a handle on the spike in carjacking cases.
The carjacking crime happened at a BP gas station near 45th Street and Cicero around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
Two men can be seen walking towards a red car parked and, in a matter of seconds, one of them pulled out a gun and confronted the 19-year-old victim, who was sitting inside the vehicle.
“It’s definitely scary and very worrisome that’s the time we’re closing the store and trying to leave,” gas station employee Ashish said.
Ashish has worked at the gas station for the past four years and said the woman could have been killed.
“This was very lucky that they did not harm the woman. They just wanted to steal the car,” he said.
In December, another woman was carjacked at another gas station -- this time in Englewood.
“I’m a parent with four girls, and I sometimes leave my 18-year-old to watch over the car while I pump my gas,” Chicago resident Tanisha Smith said.
Smith said she’s fearful about becoming the next carjacking victim. Seven years ago she said she was robbed at gunpoint while walking home from work.
“I think all gas stations should get security to watch over all males and females,” Smith said.
The special patrol kicks off Friday night at 6 p.m. at 59th Street and Ashland. Kates Security is offering their services for free, officials said.