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With School Out, Police Presence Boosted Downtown

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Chicago police patrol North Avenue Beach. (CBS)

Chicago police patrol North Avenue Beach. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — With school out and in the wake of mob attacks along the lakefront, the Chicago Police Department is making a big show of force along the beaches and Michigan Avenue.

Starting today, sources tell CBS 2’s Suzanne LeMignot, police are using every resource–from extra patrols to helicopters–to combat crime downtown and stop incidents like the one that was captured by CBS 2’s cameras on Friday from escalating into violent attacks.

Along North Avenue Beach, two groups of teens started a shouting and shoving match. As tempers began to flare, Chicago police–on foot and all terrain vehicles–moved in, bringing what could have become a beach brawl to a standstill.

“Just that alone is good, you know, that the police are here,” said Ben Johnson, who witnessed the teens’ confrontation. “Maybe it’s not the best to see the presence, you want to have like a nice beach day, but that they’re here, you feel safe.”

At North Avenue Beach, police are patrolling on foot and horseback and riding ATVs and bikes.

Susan Sarver appreciates the obvious show of police power.

“I think it’s comforting,” she said.

Sources say officers in the 18th District have had their schedules changed.

Now that school is out, the goal is to beef up patrols during the morning and evening hours, along the lakefront and Michigan Avenue.

The 18th District has had at least eight attack mob incidents this year. In some of the cases, mobs of teens have attacked people on the Magnificent Mile and the lakefront.

CBS 2 also observed a Chicago Police helicopter above North Avenue this afternoon.

Sources say the chopper is being used to monitor the entire stretch of the lakefront by air this weekend.

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