CHICAGO (CBS) – Instead of pumpkins on the porch and candy at the door, one Chicago neighborhood saw chaos on Halloween last year.
Young people jumping on cars, crushing windshields and causing thousands of dollars in damage.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves has the story from Hyde Park with a new plan to stop the trouble, and it doesn’t even involve more police.
On Tuesday, homes on Ridgewood Court are decorated for Halloween. But neighbors here will tell you, nothing really compares to the real fear last year.
“Well, it looked a little like a street riot,” said Van Distrow, who said he saw fireworks and heard pops.
“People doing most of the damage were running alongside on the street and just hitting car windows one after the other,” Distrow said.
He watched it all from his window. But this year, he plans to be out of his home and visible with lights on.
Distrow is part of a new plan in Hyde Park, started by community leader Bennie Currie.
It’s called “block activation.”
“We’re telling people ‘you do you.’ Some blocks are going to show movies in their front yards, sipping cider,” said Currie.
He spoke on 53rd Street where on Halloween, the young people usually gather until 9:00 at night, and then disperse into residential areas.
Some here said the chaos gets worse every year and nothing helps.
Some neighbors say they are not leaving their cars here this year. They are getting out of the area completely. But for those who are staying, they said they’re not scared or anxious, but hopeful this new plan will work.
So far, 16 blocks have signed up to participate. The goal is to have neighbors out and active until about 10:00 at night.
Is Distrow scared for his own safety?
“Of course that’s a risk. Our main goal is to primarily make sure that things don’t get out of control,” Distrow said.
“Well, all I say is if you live in the community and your block is not being activated it should, because this has never been done before. This is new,” Currie said.
University of Chicago police said they are closely working with aldermen and other leaders to ensure safe Halloween activities.
Chicago police will also be out in force.