Community meeting held after Halloween chaos in Hyde Park

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CHICAGO -- A meeting was held in Hyde Park to discuss what went wrong on Halloween, and how to prevent it from happening next year.

On Oct. 31, a large group of teenagers damaged at least 20 cars and caused chaos through Hyde Park on Halloween evening. No arrests were made despite police being present, and some residents have questioned why no one was taken into custody.

At about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, a group of people were walking in the 5400 blocks of South Kimbark Avenue and Kenwood Street damaging vehicles. Police said seven incidents were reported.

Cellphone video captured a large group of teenagers running through the streets that evening.

Residents reported teens stomping on cars, breaking windshields and throwing M-80s into at least two cars, setting them on fire.

Police said 11 juveniles and one adult were charged with public peace violation and reckless conduct after they were seen throwing eggs, golf balls and punches at people near 53rd and Lake streets earlier the same night around 7:30 p.m. No arrests were made in connection to the damaged cars.

Ruth and Robert Wernis watched from inside their home as police on bikes followed the crowd on Thursday.

"The police followed with the blue lights flashing on the bicycles. There were probably 10 police following them down the block,” Ruth Wernis said. “It was a scary sight.”

Another resident, Eva, said she was mad at the juveniles who caused the damage and caused fear among residents. She said she couldn't understand the inaction of police.

“There should have been some arrests at least because they had been following them and saw what was going on,” she said.

She said some of the kids came back and taunted the residents and said “obscene things.”

A group called "Teen Halloween" organized Wednesday's meeting to offer a "safe and open safe for dialogue." On the Eventbrite page, the group said they hoped the meeting would provide context about what happened, and hoped the meeting offered solutions going forward.

Some at the meeting were upset that police didn't do more. while others said the juveniles who caused the damage should be engaged more by adults.


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