Downtown alderman requests more police to fight late-night crime

A man (circled) on the east side of the Wabash Avenue Bridge aims a gun at a vehicle on Wacker Drive at about 2:25 a.m. on July 19. A 35-year-old man, Gregory Crawford of Maywood, located 11 miles west of the Loop, was shot in the neck and died. A 25-year-old woman was wounded. An impromptu street party had attracted hundreds of people to the area near the bridge. | CPD

By Steven Dahlman • Loop North News

Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) has requested more police officers in downtown Chicago to combat what he says is increasing “lawlessness that occurs downtown overnight.”

He blames “curbside parties,” where hundreds of people congregate between midnight and 4:00 a.m., “when literally nothing is open downtown.”

In a letter to Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, Reilly says he and 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins met with 18th police district commander Jill Stevens and former commander Daniel O’Shea, now Deputy Chief, about getting more officers downtown.

He says overnight crime downtown is “totally unacceptable” and deserves their immediate attention.

Reilly says he has spent “a large portion” of city funds available to him on license plate readers, throughout the downtown area, that are capable of spotting vehicles that have been involved in a crime or are owned by people with outstanding arrest warrants.

Parking overnight has been banned in many parts of the Loop, River North, and Streeterville, making it easier, he says, for police to break-up curbside parties.

“We do not want people paying parking meters at 2:00 a.m. so they can ‘just hang out,’” says Reilly, which he says is “code for drinking and drugs.”

Five people have been shot and one has been stabbed downtown over the past two weeks in incidents that police sources have linked to parties in hotel rooms and along the riverwalk.

Federal assistance a ‘real benefit’

Reilly says he supports the upcoming partnership between the Chicago Police Department and federal law enforcement agencies that will send personnel and other resources to help fight violent crime. The federal government is also making $9.375 million available to CPD to hire 75 police officers.

“As much as I disagree with President Trump and his policies, I am sincerely grateful for this federal assistance, which I believe will be a real benefit to the Chicago Police Department and our city as a whole,” said Reilly.

A major benefit of the federal assistance, he says, is that people arrested will be federally prosecuted, which “will likely result in stiffer penalties and real consequences for offenders, unlike the woeful prosecution efforts we have seen through the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.”

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