Mag Mile businesses on edge after weekend mob action - KMSP-TV

Mag Mile businesses on edge after weekend mob action

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Police plan to keep a high visibility presence along the Mag Mile on weekend nights, especially as it gets warmer, hoping to discourage the kind of activity we saw this weekend--but a lot of businesses are watching and worried about what lies ahead.

SEE: 3 adults and 25 teens charged in Mag Mile melee, Red Line attack

The mob melee that marred a nice night out for a lot of people Saturday played out right in front of the Devon Seafood Grill where Darren Watson was working.

"It was a mass mob, not a pleasant scene at all, Watson says. "Myself and the other two managers on duty, we stood in front of the restaurant to kind of protect the entryways so we wouldn't have any of the crowd coming through the doors."

Police arrested 17 people in connection with what they called a fight that broke out between two large groups of young people.

Extra patrols assigned to the area prevented the problem from getting out of hand.

"We were there, we were on top of it, and we dispersed it immediately," Supt. Garry McCarthy explained. "And I also want to be clear there were no assaults, robberies or property damage that were reported."

The superintendent blamed the situation in part on the nice weather, which in the past he has discounted as a factor in crime spikes.

But Alderman Brendan Reilly, who's 42nd Ward includes the Mag Mile, is calling on police to assign more cops to patrol the area, and he has floated the idea of allowing businesses to hire off-duty police to provide security.

"Those kids have every right to go downtown," McCarthy says. "The behavior that they engaged in, if it's illegal, they will be arrested quickly and prosecuted and that's how we're gonna handle it."

The mayor suggested these incidents should not hurt the lucrative tourism business of Michigan Avenue.

"Since I deal a lot in the tourism and convention business, a lot of people always mention to me about the presence on Michigan Avenue of the police force," Emanuel said.

"That plan would have to include, again, more boots on the ground," FOP Spokesperson Pat Camden told FOX 32. "You're going to need officers not only on Michigan Avenue, you're also going to need more officers in and around CTA stations, where these youths are coming in to Michigan Avenue."

Businesses are just hoping that after Saturday night, police will have a plan for when the warmer weather hits.

"The guests that were sitting here Saturday night they were in a little disbelief," Watson says. "It's sort of an eye opener what the summer has in store for us."

There was also a second, unrelated incident where police arrested 11 teens for attacking two women on a CTA train at State and Lake.

The Fraternal Order of Police said the administration's plans for the summer have to include more police officers in and around Michigan Avenue, as well as on the CTA trains, which many of the thugs use to get downtown.

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