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Residents express safety concerns following crime spike in downtown Chicago

Chicago residents express safety concerns with uptick in violent crimes
Chicago residents express safety concerns with uptick in violent crimes 02:31

CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents at a town hall meeting expressed concern for their safety as the summer season approaches. It comes after several violent incidents in Chicago's downtown area.

On Wednesday, the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, or SOAR, called the meeting with Aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Brian Hopkins (2nd) to address some of the issues in downtown and Streeterville.

Scott McHose and his wife have lived in the Streeterville neighborhood since 1994, but the couple and nearly 300 of their neighbors said they're concerned about the changes in their community.

"I think that safety is probably number one these days," he said. "There's times when you're not comfortable walking at night or sometimes it can be not so late at night."

While the meeting was happening, a woman was robbed by a group of men at Jackson and Dearborn.

Last weekend, a group was captured on video fighting in the streets with knives in the Loop. Before that, a man was beaten in the middle of the day by another group on Michigan Avenue.

On Mother's Day, police responded to another stabbing at Dearborn and Lake.

Resident Nick Black says the uptick in crime strikes him.

"Streeterville may be one of the most safe neighborhoods of the 77 neighborhoods here, but we're still faced with a lot of crime," he said.

With the summer months ahead, residents wonder if they will get the needed protection and services they depend on. Chicago police insist they are ready, especially if another teen takeover occurs. 

"When the first district responds to calls for service, they do a great job, but 1st District cops are spread really thin," Reilly said.

"We have wagons usually on hand to take kids into custody if we need to. We don't want to; that's the last thing we want to do, but if we see people breaking the law, we're going to have to take enforcement," an officer said. 

Teens may be considered a significant factor. 

Police announced the arrest of a 17-year-old linked to 25 armed robberies across downtown, spanning three months. 

"This is someone who's been engaged in violent crimes against innocent citizens for the past several months at a rate that can only be described as horrifying," Hopkins said. 

Police say they plan to enforce the 10 p.m. curfew and get more businesses to stick with an escort policy to curb problematic teens.  

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