Keeping Our Neighborhood Safe
Loyola Neighborhood News: Water Tower Campus - V3, I1
The issue of safety near the Chicago Avenue and State Street intersection has been the subject of media attention in recent months. The University continues to be an organizing body and resource to the neighborhood Police, Alderman Brendan Reilly and local business community.
The North Michigan Avenue and Water Tower area is a huge draw for tourists and Chicagoans alike, with several businesses, schools and places of worship in the area, it is important for regular and on-going communication. In 2006, the university launched the Chicago Avenue Safety Task Force with a goal of facilitating partnerships and sharing information that leads to a safer community near the Chicago Avenue and State Street neighborhood. The group meets quarterly to address on-going safety concerns, most notably the aggressive panhandling and vagrancy in and around the public park adjacent to McDonald’s.
Since the creation of the task force and with support from the Alderman and Chicago Police, there is a vast improvement along the parkway and the adjacent public park.
Earlier this summer, Alderman Brendan Reilly and 018th District Commander Kenneth Angarone hosted a meeting to disseminate information about the recent crime trend incorrectly dubbed by the media as “flash mobbing.” Perpetrators of (MOI) or Multiple Offender Incidents overwhelm and target individual and commercial victims in large numbers to rob valuables before fleeing the scene. The meeting focused on action-oriented solutions such as additional police deployment, particularly on weekends and peak times. Summur Roberts, Assistant Director of Community Relations and Lieutenant Robert Langan, Campus Police were invited to attend.
With a heavy presence along Chicago Avenue, Michigan Avenue and side streets, arrests have been made as police take a “no tolerance” approach to cracking down on the recent behavior. Loyola’s campus police continue to assist and support the efforts of the 018th district by offering additional camera surveillance, officers on foot patrol and use of a safety vehicle in a two block radius of campus.
“Engaging and coordinating with our neighbors, businesses and institutions have really made an impact on the quality of life in the area," said Roberts. "We worked hard to get the park closed and we were successful. Closing that park has really cut down on the panhandling and drug dealing that took place at the site. We will continue to be a good neighbor and advocate for a safe neighborhood.”