Streeterville residents demand city tamp down teen takeovers; hold town hall with CPD, aldermen

Thursday, May 23, 2024
Streeterville residents want city to tamp down on teen takeovers
Chicago crime is getting to Streeterville residents, who are pressing the city to control teen takeovers and the risk to their safety they cause.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some Streeterville residents say that while their neighborhood is great during the day, nighttime is a different story.

Dorrie Hubbard says nearly every weekend large groups of teens run around the neighborhood, creating serious issues.

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"I'm just concerned," she said. "What's really going on down here, and what are we doing?"

The longtime Near North Side resident is just one of many fed up with what they say is an increase of crime in their community.

Some say groups descend on the area and not only get into fights with each other, but also try to enter building lobbies, which many now keep locked for safety.

"So we moved over here thinking it would be quieter," said Mark Wolfe, Streeterville resident. "Now we have we have what my wife and i refer to as the Saturday night scaries because of the kids that come in and just cause havoc."

The Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, or SOAR, hosted a town hall meeting Wednesday to open up a dialogue about the problem.

"We've never had the issues in the neighborhood that we are currently having and of course everyone is concerned because summer is just beginning," said SOAR President Deborah Gershbein.

Both aldermen who represent Streeterville, including 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, attended the meeting, along with a representative from the Chicago Police Department.

Police said they are enforcing the city's 10 p.m. curfew for unaccompanied minors, and have asked Streeterville to take action.

"To enact an escort policy in which subjects that are under 18 will have to be there with a parent, otherwise they won't be able to enter into these venues," said Capt. David Koenig.

"This policy has been in place now at Water Tower Place for almost four years," Hopkins pointed out. "It's fairly and evenly applied, which is important, but it's made a difference, a noticeable decline in the number of incidents."

The ABC7 Data Team's Safety Tracker shows homicides are down from last year in Near North neighborhoods, including Streeterville, but in the past 12 months robberies, batteries and burglaries are up compared to the average of the previous three years.

"I am concerned. I'm an older person, and we don't go out at night anymore," said resident Barbara Webb.

Residents are especially concerned since the Democratic National Convention will come to town.

"We are getting some additional funds from the DNC, and we are using some of that to hire and train new police officers. We're getting a new police helicopter which will certainly help. That's being paid for with funds from the DNC," Hopkins said.

He hopes to increase police officers in the area and improve response times.

Officials say they've added improved lighting in the neighborhood, and with the help of federal dollars ahead of the Democratic National Convention, and more license plate readers and police cameras have been installed downtown.