Dozens of residents attended an Oct. 22 tour of local crime hotspots organized by Streeterville Neighborhood Advocate’s founder Craig Kaiser. Accompanied by members of the 63 Team, a tactical unit within the Chicago Police Department, the group spent more than an hour discussing how activities within certain areas regularly disrupt their lives.
Stops included the Centennial Fountain and the Ogden Slip, where people allegedly gather to drink and take drugs at night; and the intersection of Illinois and McClurg Ct., where some attendees said they have experienced aggressive panhandling.
CPD Sergeant Christoph Schenck, who joined most of the tour, addressed each point. After explaining that the city’s video surveillance is usually arranged to film traffic in the street, which is not where crimes allegedly occur, he said that homeowners and building managers interested in setting up their own cameras should complete the task at dusk.
“The street you know during the day is not the street you know during the night,” he said.
As for panhandling, he said that the First Amendment right to free speech protects people who ask for money on the street, unless they make threats or become violent. When that happens, the alleged victim can file a complaint with the police.
Although the 63 Team generally addresses higher-level crimes-in-progress like assault with a deadly weapon, they also support neighborhood patrols. According to Officer Horton, a 23-year CPD veteran who has worked with the team in Streeterville for two decades, they planned to share the information they learned with other members of the force.
Officer Horton also took a moment to express gratitude and enthusiasm for the tour. “With us out here meeting and greeting the community … that helps a lot,” he said. “I think we need that. Because just like you guys, we’re human too.”