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Wicker Park Home Removed Permanently From Airbnb After Guns Are Confiscated At Party, 4 Men Are Charged

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Four men now face felony charges for resisting an officer after an unapproved party at a Wicker Park Airbnb over the weekend, and noise complaints at the crowded party led police confiscated a cache of weapons.

Airbnb told CBS 2 Monday that the Wicker Park apartment has been permanently removed from its site.

As CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reported, the celebration got out of hand in spite of new measures to crack down on these dangerous gatherings.

There is no denying that the Wicker Park party in an Airbnb rental got out of hand. More than 20 illegal firearms were left behind when 150 crammed inside to shoot a music video ran away as police arrived.

"You have a situation where nobody was watching the store," said CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg.

When left unchecked, some parties have turned violent. A San Francisco-area mansion party last October ended with five people shot dead.

"Who is actually vetting the Airbnb hosts and are they adhering to the rules Airbnb sets," Greenberg said.

The company's CEO announced the ban on Twitter late last year but it's clearly a work in progress. Ben Breit is with Airbnb's Chicago office.

"Party houses are a major concern that's why we ban them," he said.

Since last fall Airbnb has verified all seven million listings worldwide, forbidding unauthorized parties in multi-unit buildings, and instituting a 24-hour manned emergency call-line.

Violations result in immediate cancellation and suspension from the platform.

Airbnb has begun partnering with law enforcement for modest solutions. In Los Angeles, police identified over two dozen "chronic" party houses the site removed earlier this month. It's also  experimenting with noise detection systems.

"They just sort of monitor for sound, perhaps a sign there are more than two or three persons in there," Breit said.

Airbnb controls 8.5% of all short term hotel and home rentals globally, a big enforcement challenge for any rules it might create.

"When you are dealing with that kind of number, policing that kind of number becomes exponentially more difficult," Greenberg noted.

The company is meeting with the Chicago Police Department Tuesday to discuss a party house removal plan similar to the effort in Los Angeles.


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