Univision Chicago TV crew robbed at gunpoint whereas reporting on robberies within the metropolis

As a Chicago TV crew was masking a spike in armed robberies, their reporting took an ironic twist Monday after they have been robbed at gunpoint whereas filming.

A reporter and photographer have been about to movie a stay shot earlier than 5 a.m. within the Wicker Park neighborhood, when a black SUV and a grey sedan pulled up, the Chicago Police Division mentioned in an announcement to The Washington Publish. Three male suspects left the automobiles “sporting ski masks and displaying firearms” on the TV crew.

The lads demanded cash from the crew earlier than stealing the digital camera used to movie the story on robberies, in addition to two luggage of apparatus and the photographer’s backpack, Raza Siddiqui, president of the Nationwide Affiliation of Broadcast Workers and Technicians Native 41, which represents TV photographers in Chicago, mentioned to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“The offenders then took the victims’ belongings earlier than returning to the automobiles and fleeing,” Chicago police spokesman Jose Lemus-Cortez instructed The Publish.

Whereas police didn’t verify the employment of the victims, Spanish-language TV station Univision Chicago instructed native media that two of its workers, a 28-year-old man and a 42-year-old man who weren’t named, have been held at gunpoint.

“They have been approached with weapons and robbed,” Luis Godinez, vp of reports at Univision Chicago, instructed the Chicago Tribune. Godinez didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Tuesday morning,

No accidents have been reported on the scene, police mentioned. No suspects have been in custody as of Tuesday morning, and detectives are nonetheless investigating the incident.

The theft of the TV crew comes as Chicago police are investigating a collection of a minimum of eight armed robberies and carjackings that unfolded on Sunday evening and Monday. Police haven’t linked any of the incidents, however have mentioned that every case has concerned a gaggle of two to 4 folks ambushing the victims.

The speed of homicides within the metropolis is down 8 p.c from this time final yr, based on data tracked by Chicago police, and the speed of capturing incidents can be down 11 p.c in contrast with August 2022. However there have been greater than 6,500 theft complaints in 2023 as of Sunday, a spike of 23 p.c in contrast with this time final yr, police information exhibits. There have additionally been greater than 19,500 experiences of motorized vehicle thefts — a rise of 99 p.c in contrast with August 2022.

A spokesperson for Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Tuesday morning. The mayor’s workplace launched an announcement Monday saying that the police division’s bureau of patrol and detectives are working collectively to resolve theft and motorized vehicle theft circumstances, reported WLS-TV, Chicago’s ABC affiliate.

Tv information crews throughout the nation have confronted rising threats of violence whereas on the job in recent times. In August 2015, reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward of CBS affiliate WDBJ in Roanoke have been shot and killed whereas conducting a stay TV interview. In 2021, crews in Raleigh, San Francisco and Miami Beach got here below assault as they have been attempting to do their jobs.

TV information crews are more and more threatened with violence on the job

The Monday incident is the second time in three weeks {that a} Chicago TV crew has been robbed whereas masking a narrative.

On Aug. 8, a photographer with WLS-TV was assaulted and robbed whereas masking a information convention on Chicago’s West Facet. The station reported earlier this month that the photographer was “high quality and suffered solely minor scrapes,” and that police have been investigating.

Godinez instructed the Tribune that the theft was talked about on Univision Chicago’s 5 p.m. broadcast, however the station determined to not make the incident central to its protection.

“We don’t wish to make the story about us, as a result of there have been different robberies that occurred inside that very same interval,” he mentioned.

Siddiqui instructed the Solar-Instances that the station and others affiliated with the union are working towards taking extra steps to reinforce safety for TV crews within the area.

“We wish to ensure that we offer a longer-lasting answer that we work not solely with administration however our members, and ensure that we learn some protocols that everybody is proud of and feels is usually a workable answer,” Siddiqui mentioned.

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