A teen "wilding" scene and a CTA-related robbery near the Magnificent Mile over Easter weekend have renewed a downtown alderman's efforts to boost police presence in the popular downtown shopping district.
Since October, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has been floating the idea that business associations and non-profit groups chip in to add more cops to the downtown, the Tribune reports. Under the proposal, community and business groups would foot the cost of adding off-duty but fully-uniformed cops — paid about $30 an hour — to specific beats under the command of Chicago Police Department supervisors.
At a recent joint news conference, both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said they were on top of the downtown crime situation.
"We have a big (police) presence on Michigan Avenue and the moment something happened the police were on it and people got arrested," Emanuel said during the meeting.
According to the Sun-Times, Reilly made it clear he wasn't criticizing the mayor or the CPD's response — and had especially high praise for the department's bike patrol.
“I’m not suggesting the Police Department isn’t already doing a great job," Reilly said. "They’re great at reacting to these incidents. I just want to find some creative ways to prevent the incidents from occurring in the first place.”
Reilly reportedly envisions the program for areas beyond the Mag Mile shopping district, suggesting it could be implemented "along Michigan Avenue, in the Loop and other business areas, Wrigleyville during Cubs games or even in violence-plagued neighborhoods on the South or West sides," according to the Tribune.