Less Cops at Fest
- As the debate continues over police staffing in the midst of fears over flash mobs and muggings along the Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s neighborhood festivals began Thursday evening with one of the biggest seeing its traditional allotment of police officers slashed.
The annual Puerto Rican fest in Humboldt Park has traditionally been flooded with hundreds of police, a precaution made in previous years because of the volatile combination of rival street gangs and hot summer nights.
The surrounding neighborhood has been marred by gang fights and shootings in past years, and police have responded with scores of tactical officers and gang units.
This year, police manpower is down citywide, and with demands for officers elsewhere, Puerto Rican fest will receive fewer officers. The news was not well received in a neighborhood where security fears were already high.'
The word is that gang bangers are thrilled however. With the hot weekend on tap and everyone looking at the lakefront and Gold Coast problems, your usual suspects are seeing this one as a giant freebie. We shall see.