Police to focus on “retail corridors” during anticipated COVID-19 shelter order; Lakeview alderman tells shuttered businesses to “secure valuables”

Chicago police officers have had their days off canceled for the weekend as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces a statewide shelter in place program to counter the spread of COVID-19.

And, a Lakeview alderman on Thursday urged local businesses to make their storefronts less appealing to burglars and others who may take advantage of the situation.

The additional manpower that CPD will get by canceling days off will be funneled to local police districts to focus on “retail corridors, main thoroughfares and/or other areas that need special attention,” according to an order from CPD Chief of Operations Fred Waller that is scheduled to be released after Pritzker’s anticipated 3 p.m. shelter announcement. CWBChicago secured a copy of the pending order from a source.

Many of the additional officers are expected to be assigned to foot patrol and fixed posts in targeted areas such as the Magnificent Mile.

Meanwhile, Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) on Thursday advised businesses in his ward to secure their facilities. Tunney’s email came hours after Chicago police said a burglary crew broke into three businesses around Tunney’s ward to steal ATMs earlier in the day.

“After discussing these incidents, police are recommending businesses that are not open during this time secure valuables such as liquor, ATMs, cash registers and other items that can be seen from the windows,” Tunney said. 

He also advised business owners to make sure their surveillance cameras are operating correctly, that all doors and windows are locked, and alarms are activated. 

Meanwhile, some businesses in the River North area, including the Smith and Wollensky steakhouse at Marina City, have decided to board up their businesses while the city waits out COVID-19.

In 2012, many businesses in the Loop and River North hired board-up services in anticipation of protests and looting during the NATO conference.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com