Downtown residents meet with CPD over safety concerns as jam-packed summer looms

Thursday, May 16, 2024
Downtown residents meet with CPD as jam-packed summer looms
Downtown Chicago residents met with the Chicago Police Department about summer safety as events from NASCAR to Lollapalooza to the 2024 DNC loom.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Wednesday night downtown residents met face-to-face with Chicago police ahead of what some described as an anxious summer.

"I'm just really concerned about the safety concerns and being able to still work and live in the downtown area," said Adrienne Johnson, South Loop resident.

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First District Commander David Harris led a meeting hosted by the group South Loop Neighbors, discussing CPD's plan for major events including July's NASCAR Street Race and September's Mexican Independence Day celebrations, which in the past have snarled streets. Some are concerned about a planned two day ticketed Grant Park festival.

"How is that festival going to impact the caravans? Is that going to enhance the caravans? Is it going to minimize the... you know, if it minimizes the caravans, downtown residents would love it," said Jim Wales, president of South Loop Neighbors.

"I'm extremely optimistic that this event will bring the celebrants to that event and not to the streets," Cmdr. Harris said.

Ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August, police and federal authorities have canvassed the likely security perimeter, a six-block radius around the United Center and McCormick Place.

Police said residents won't be told until mid-July about the designated areas for protesters, though police have been training for those demonstrations since September.

"We will have a well-equipped, well-trained force here to ensure the safety of every single person in this city," said Glen Brooks with CPD.

Entering summer, police say overall crime is down, but robberies citywide are up. At the meeting, residents were told about a new robbery task force of officers and detectives which began working this week.

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