CHICAGO (CBS) – Growing concern over a recent late night crime spree on the streets of Lakeview helped spur an effort to get local residents to walk the streets overnight to bring attention to crime hot spots.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports the effort led by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) included a pledge to bring peace back to the streets.
“I’d love to see more of a police presence. Obviously, our community is seeing it, and tonight we have it. We’d like to see it more often,” Tunney said. “I’m very, very supportive of what strategies they’re using to make sure our neighborhoods stay safe.”
Tunney said he wants police to identify crime hot spots in Lakeview, and to help residents and visitors work together to be safe.
In the parking lot of the 7-Eleven in the 3400 block of North Halsted Street, a stage has been set up for the weekend’s Northalsted Market Days Festival, but at midnight, residents and police officers gathered there for more serious business.
Along with Tunney, they were staging a midnight march through the neighborhood to call attention to crime problems in Lakeview.
“Obviously it’s publicity, it’s a way to address an issue that’s going on in our neighborhood,” Lakeview resident Kurt Tarpley said.
Mike Robinson said, “I think it could raise more attention. I mean, the fact of the matter is there’s … probably not enough police officers in our neighborhood.”
Town Hall District police have been dealing with a rash of armed robberies recently.
Two men with guns have pulled off at least six late night or early morning stickups in the past three weeks.
At the Side Street Saloon at George Street and Greenview Avenue, patron Mike Carroll said he knows what it’s like to be a victim. It happened to him five years ago.
“It was about 11 o’clock at night, and I gave them the money that I had, and that was it,” he said. “The gun was pointed right to my head.”
But Carroll said he thinks the planned march is a waste of time.
“It won’t have any effect at all,” he said.
Side Street Saloon owner Norm Meierkort agrees.
“Has marches stopped it anywhere else in Chicago? I haven’t seen it,” he said.
Despite the rash of street crimes, police said overall crime in the Town Hall District was down 19 percent in the first half of the year.