River North community members, business owners hold meeting with police to address recent crime spike

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Residents of the 18th Police District met with officers and community members looking to address a recent spike in crime in River North and changes in policing.

Over 50 business owners and residents sat inside Moe’s Cantina on Kinzie Street to discuss their concerns about recent crime in the area, with many saying they are scared to go about their day-to-day lives.

“The people and the residents are aware of the danger and are asking the police what are we doing,” Sam Sanchez, chairman of the Illinois Restaurant Association said.

Chicago police said they have a new Commander, new policing strategies and a greater presence in the area, just as residents saw this past weekend.

There were 300 officers deployed to the area to engage with the public. Crews towed 76 vehicles on Hubbard Street, made 10 arrests and recovered five guns. Police said this is just the beginning of more crackdowns in the area.

“Police did a great thing this weekend. They really did. They show manpower could solve the issue. The parking, the drugs. No tolerance for the fighting,” Sanchez said.

While there were two murders in the past month in the police district that covers the Near North Side, murders are actually down 33 percent in the district year-to-date.

However, shootings are up 21 percent, criminal sexual assaults have risen by 91 percent and motor vehicle thefts are up 25 percent over last year.

Just a week ago, a man stabbed and killed a woman at a Chase bank on North Dearborn Street. Around the same time, two men were beat up and robbed on North State Street.

Police have said they are confident that with the public’s help, crime numbers will drop.

“This is encouraging. I saw this weekend where there’s a different attitude as far as policing. They are actually trying to correct a lot of the problems we have been talking about over the last couple of years,” restaurant owner Peter Stark said.

Police said they will also cut down on public drinking and loud music on motorcycles in the area.

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