CHICAGO (CBS) — After large groups of young people flooded downtown Chicago last weekend, some are worried as another weekend approaches. One alderman says the city needs to stop the crime that comes with this fast, to send a message that these crimes won’t be tolerated heading into summer because it is not the first time this has happened. Now the concern is this year it could get worse.
Last weekend a CBS 2 photojournalist saw someone throwing things at a Chicago Police Department cruise and trash cans and planters knocked over as large groups of teens moved through downtown causing what police called “disturbances.”READ MORE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Names José Torres As Interim Chicago Public Schools CEO
“If we look the other way and allow it to happen, it is only going to get worse as the summer goes on,” said 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins. “It’s just a matter of time before someone is hurt, if not killed because there have been some weapons involved in this, too.”
According to CPD, five juveniles were arrested, and each was charged with a misdemeanor count of reckless conduct last Saturday on East Randolph Street. But that is all they said.
Hopkins told CBS 2’s Tara Molina that most of what was reported was minor, but he detailed some of what our cameras didn’t capture, too.
“There have been some severe incidents as well,” he said. “There was a stabbing, a number of assaults. Lots of theft where they’re grabbing phones, wallets and purses from people.”READ MORE: Massive Chemical Plant Fire In Rockton, Illinois, Could Burn For Days
This is not the first year there have been massive groups and issues downtown, but Hopkins said, this time around, the city needs to send a message with what he calls a proactive approach.
“Nobody wants to round up a bunch like kids and throw them in jail, that doesn’t really solve the problem,” he said. “We can’t just look the other way and chalk it up to teenage hijinks. It’s more than that; it’s criminal activity, and people are actually being hurt by it. The older ones who are the ring leaders, who are responsible for organizing and encouraging criminal activity, they need to be arrested and held to account.”
We checked in with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office on that and followed up with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, too. Our first request was sent Thursday, but as of 6 p.m. Friday there was no response from either office.
“We have to make sure we are doing it right, we’re acting within the law,” said Hopkins. “That everyone’s rights are still respected, and if we can pull that off I think it would really help. So that’s a conversation among city departments including the mayor’s office.”MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Illinois: Infection Rate Reaches New Low; Fewest New Cases In 15 Months
Chicago police won’t share what they call specific deployment details but said they will have the right resources in place to ensure public safety.