Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s mayor and top cop are talking about how police handled unruly mobs downtown this past weekend, and what it might mean for visitors planning to come to the city this summer, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy stresses that officers reacted quickly when mobs of teenagers started fighting in the Gold Coast area Saturday evening.
“We were there, we were on top of it and we dispersed it immediately. And I also want to be clear, that there were no assaults, robberies or property damage that was reported,” said McCarthy.
He says a group robbery on the CTA Red Line was unrelated and arrests quickly followed.
Mayor Emanuel says he doesn’t expect the headlines to drive tourists away.
“People will take note of the statistics. A 69 percent drop in homicides will also say something. Since I deal a lot with the tourism and convention business, a lot of people always mention to me about the presence on Michigan Avenue of the police force,” said Emanuel.
He says the city will maintain a visible police presence there.
Still, the mayor doesn’t believe Chicago’s tourist-friendly image is taking a hit.
“Our numbers from last year, both in tourism, convention and hotel is up,” he said.
But workers at some businesses near Saturday’s melee aren’t so sure people will continue to turn a blind eye.
Keyna Baker of Beck’s book store told CBS 2′s Mai Martinez: “It may deter people from coming downtown. Who’s going to want to come down to an area that’s unsafe.”
Video of the melee spread quickly.
It reached tourist Dave McDermott and his family via an email from a concerned friend who knew they were heading to Chicago from Detroit.
McDermott said it didn’t deter his family’s plans.
“No, not at all,” he said. “You know, I just thought it’s like any big city, you got to be aware of what your surroundings are.”