CHICAGO — Community members and business owners in the West Loop met with Chicago police Tuesday night to discuss the recent uptick in criminal activity in the neighborhood. 

West Loop resident Tali Booze says she moved to the West Loop due to family insisting the area was safe. But Booze says the area is anything but, as carjacking and crimes take centerstage, prompting her and others to attend the community meeting.  

“I’ve just decided to get a little more involved in the community and take some action in terms of my personal safety,” she said.  

William Townsell, the assistant director of community policing for the Chicago Police Department, shared tips on street safety with the group. He also advised people in the neighborhood to always carry something for use against an attacker and encouraged better communication with each other. 

“When you are out in the street and your out and about, when that hair on the back of your head tells you something don’t ignore it,” Townsell said.  

Members of the West Loop Community Organization say this meeting was about being proactive. 

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“Even if we have police on every corner, in every neighborhood across the city, it wouldn’t be enough and it’s just not realistic. So I think people really need to learn how to protect themselves and meet the police department halfway,” said Julie Darling, a board member of West Loop Community Organization.

Some discussion occurred Tuesday night about the possibility of hiring private security for the West Loop. Townsell reiterated that he feels the best way to ensure the community is as safe as possible is by knowing your neighbors and communicating.

Members of the West Loop Community Organization say they plan to have more meetings focused on safety in the future.