Police ready for Taste of Chicago

July 8, 2012 9:03:52 PM PDT
The Taste of Chicago food vendors are putting the final touches on their tents before they open for business Wednesday and Chicago police are promising it will be safe.

Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Sunday security plans will stay almost the same as last year with a visible law enforcement presence both inside and outside the Taste. It will include uniformed and undercover officers.

"We expect a fun and family event as we had last year," McCarthy said. "We're going to devote appropriate manpower and resources to make sure that happens.

"We're going to use those undercover officers as we did last year, where they observe illegal activity and they relay information to uniformed officers and we intervene very, very quickly."

This year, the Taste is five days shorter than in years past, which could keep the crowds smaller -- a business concern to some vendors.

"We're just hoping for the best," said Brittany Aiyash of Pazzo's. "We're hoping for the biggest crowd we can possibly have here since it's our first year. Five days may be beneficial because it's shorter, more of a crowd coming in a shorter period of time."

The popular summer event seemed to grow larger each year.

In 2008, crowds swelled for the Taste, which coincided with the holiday fireworks. That year, just blocks away from the event, one person was killed in a shooting, which led police to beef up patrols.

"It scared a lot of folks," said Charlie Robinson of Robinson's Ribs. "I don't have any concerns about that now. Security is great. Chicago Police Department does a great job and also special security on-site does a great job as well."


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