Recent increase in downtown police presence pleases business owners, concerns other residents

CHICAGO — An increase in police presence downtown has left one alderman and some community members concerned about their neighborhoods being less safe.

Following several incidents of looting and unrest in downtown Chicago, several business owners and employees have welcomed the recent increase in police presence.

“It caused a lot of people to lose their jobs. It caused a lot of people to shut down a lot of stuff. It caused a lot of chaos,” Green Leaf Market employee Paul Skaro said.

A recent memo released by police outlines a plan to position more officers downtown during daytime hours for a highly visible presence while moving officers from other districts.

Residents from other neighborhoods are critical of the plan, citing less policing in their neighborhoods during an increase in violence.2

“For me, this is very dangerous policy being implemented because the neighborhoods like mine that I represent from West Englewood to Bryant Park, we have seen an increase in gang and drug activity all hours of the day,” Alderman Raymond Lopez said.

Police have addressed the criticism in a statement, while also adding that 48% of officers sent downtown during issues of unrest and looting have returned to their districts.

“To imply that the safety and protection of the downtown districts is of higher importance than any of our other neighborhoods is categorically false,” the statement said.

Police said approximately 750 officers on the citywide Community Safety Team and Summer Mobile Patrol, which has been expanded into November, are designed to supplement police who need more support in any district at a given time.

As for Alderman Raymond Lopez, he hopes the plan comes to an end soon.

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