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With warm weather coming, Chicagoans are concerned about violence prevention on beaches

Beach safety concerns grow in Chicago ahead of summer
Beach safety concerns grow in Chicago ahead of summer 02:36

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With warm and summerlike temperatures coming to Chicago Saturday, the beaches are likely to be jam-packed – and there will be a pressing need to keep the lakefront safe.

The Chicago Police Department said it is expecting extra people out this weekend, and thus, there will also be extra patrols along the lakefront. Meanwhile, those living along the shore are hoping the beach season this year does not turn into a summer of chaos.

Rosa Haraf has lived along the shore in Buena Park for eight years.

"That's one thing that everybody loves is just being near the lakefront, and being able to go taking walks," said Haraf, of the Buena Park Neighbors Association.

Yet Haraf admits the association has complained about the changes in the past two years.

"You kind of keep your head on swivel a little more than you used to," she said. "You know, you used to be more comfortable just kind of being there."

That applies especially with incidents playing out like one that happened this week. Video obtained and posted by Chicago Critter on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, a group of young men was seen kicking, then punching the back passenger window of a black sport-utility vehicle at a North Avenue Beach parking lot on Thursday.

Seconds later, the driver of the SUV reversed, then drove forward, plowing down an 18-year-old woman before leaving the scene and the young woman behind. The teenager was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition.

'You know, here we go again," said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd). "We had problems on North Avenue Beach last year. We started the season with gunfire and a shooting."

Hopkins said the city is working to ensure violent incidents – including teen takeovers – do not become a norm.

"You can't start a gang fight on the beach, you can't display a weapon on the beach, and you can't have alcohol on the beach - so we'll be doing cooler checks and bag checks," the alderman said.

"You don't see a ton of police presence, but I mean, we would welcome it," said Haraf.

Hopkins said security will do extra perimeter checks to control access – all efforts those living next to beaches hope will make a difference.

"There is worry, but there's also – Chicagoans, I think, have this – they have their heart in the game," said Haraf, "and we don't want to let it go."

The Chicago Park District is expected to have employees out in marked vehicles – in addition to increased CPD bike patrols. But they are reminding 

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