Update on Downtown Looting Overnight – Alderman Reilly Reports 8/10/2020

Dear Neighbors,

I am angry and disgusted by the widespread looting that occurred downtown and across multiple city wards on the Northside of Chicago overnight. I spent the early morning hours and entire today just as I did on May 31st: surveying damage, meetings with the Police Department and conversations with the Mayor. I am absolutely furious.

What we saw last night was a repeat of the looting that occurred in late May: a highly coordinated, professional attack on downtown and neighboring wards – involving caravans of stolen SUVs, cars and U-Haul trucks. This professional attack was laser-focused on high value targets such as: electronics stores, jewelry stores, high-end retail boutiques, branch banks, ATMS, pharmacies and department stores. The looting was initiated using social media channels on the internet and was well-coordinated.

Police Superintendent Brown has made it clear that the lack of consequences for the looting that occurred in late May only served to further embolden these criminals to strike again. I agree with the Superintendent – it is clear that there is no accountability or consequences for the widespread lawlessness in the City of Chicago.

Our Cook County Prosecutor’s Office and the Cook County Judicial system are failing us like never before. We expect prosecutors to enforce all of our laws with equal vigor – City and State laws are not a “buffet” for prosecutors to selectively enforce – they must all be enforced. All too often, we are seeing repeat offenders, violent offenders, gun crime suspects and, now looters, being released on an “iBond” (Recognizance Bond) or the totally ineffective “electronic monitoring program.” This is totally unacceptable.

Ironically, this morning’s front-page headline of the Chicago Tribune reinforces this fact: the State’s Attorney “dropped all charges against 29.9% of felony defendants a dramatic increase over her predecessor, the Tribune found. For the last three years of Anita Alvarez’s tenure, the rate was 19.4%.”

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has only prosecuted a fraction of felony retail thefts when compared against her predecessor. During Anita Alvarez’s last three years in office as State’s Attorney, she filed roughly 6,000 felony retail theft cases. In contrast, over the last three years of Foxx’s term in office, she has only filed 2,200 felony retail cases. This is certainly not due to a reduction in felony retail thefts – it’s a result of bad policy.

One explanation for the precipitous drop in prosecutions can be linked to a policy adopted by Foxx in 2016: making the bad decision to treat retail theft as “misdemeanor” crimes, unless the value of stolen items exceed $1,000 or the suspect has 10 prior convictions. That leaves far too much wiggle room for habitual, repeat offenders.

When there are no consequences for these criminal acts – large or small – it only serves as further incentive for these criminals to repeat these crimes over and over.

Professional looters have “weaponized” our social media platforms. These acts are planned, organized and coordinated via various social media platforms on the internet (like Facebook, Instagram, chat rooms, online gaming, etc.).

While the Police has social media intelligence gathering capabilities, I believe they are inadequate when it comes to infiltrating these social media platforms and corners of the “Dark Web” where these planning activities occur. We need more effective tools.

Advanced technology and services exist that can help our Police Department get ahead of these planned looting incursions – allowing them to monitor these platforms and aggregate “chatter” in social media and on the Dark Web by using key search words and proprietary data sharing. This gives the Police important information before the crime is even committed – allowing them to plan, in advance, and shut it down quickly.

I am calling on the Police Department to take immediate steps to access this technology as soon as possible, to alert our police to problems as they are being planned – not after they have been initiated. We desperately need these tools in place now.

The Police Superintendent has formed a special team to review all city POD cameras to pull footage to identify as many looters as possible, so the city can aggressively pursue these groups, arrest them and file charges. That work is underway at this very moment.

The Superintendent has also cancelled all days off for police officers and new 12-hour shifts will be imposed. You will see a heavy police presence in the downtown area and surrounding neighborhood wards. Neighborhoods across the city will see increased patrols overnight and tactical units on-call to for rapid response to any incidents.

The city will be deploying more than 100 infrastructure assets citywide that will be strategically positioned by the Chicago Police Department to protect neighborhood commercial corridors and critical businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

In addition, access to the downtown area will be temporarily restricted beginning this evening from 8:00 pm – 6:00am. The restricted access to the downtown area is NOT a curfew. All residents, essential workers and employees whose businesses are located downtown will have access at all times. As part of the restricted access, the following measures will be in place until further notice:

Lake Shore Drive will be closed between:

• Fullerton Avenue on the North and I-55 on the South

Downtown Bridges:

• All Bridges will be up by 8 p.m. with the exception of the following:

LaSalle Street  Harrison Street  Ida B. Wells / Congress Bridge (West Bound Open Only)  Lake Shore Drive  Columbus Avenue  Kinzie Street  Grand Avenue
Access Points for residents and employees of area businesses:

• Harrison Street
• Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street
• Roosevelt Road and Canal Street
• Kinzie Street and Halsted Street
• LaSalle Street

Expressway Closures:

• All Ramps from Roosevelt Road to Division Street will be closed in both directions.

CTA:

• Rail Service will be impacted at the following locations, with trains not entering the area surrounding downtown: Fullerton Avenue to 47th and east of Halsted Street
• Bus Service will remain open at this time. Some buses will see reroutes due to bridge and street closures.

CDOT

•  Divvy Service will not be available from North Avenue to Ashland Avenue and Cermak Road between 8:00pm and 6:00am

Access points are designated for residents, essential workers and employees whose businesses are located within the designated boundaries, individuals who reside in the surrounding area and residents engaged in essential activities.

Entrance into the perimeter will be manned by officers with the Chicago Police Department. When arriving at the access points, residents and employees should show identification or proof that they live in the area and/or work in the area.  

We depend on the brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department to work long, thankless (often dangerous) hours under incredibly challenging circumstances, to keep our neighborhoods and families safe. They deserve appreciation and support.

I promise to continue to do all I can, in any way, to support the Police Department, Deputy Chief O’Shea, our local police commanders and officers who serve downtown. I will continue to provide updates on city public safety efforts as they become available.

Sincerely,

Brendan Reilly
President Pro Tempore
Alderman, 42nd Ward

Neighborhood Public Safety Update – August 9, 2020

On Thursday August 6th, Leaders from River North Residents Association (RNRA) and Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) met with Chicago Police Department 18th District Commander Jill Stevens, Sergeant Chris Schenk, Alderman Brendan Reilly and Alderman Brian Hopkins, to discuss what can be done to address and stop the increasing crime in  River North and Streeterville. Both neighborhoods are experiencing the same disturbing illegal and criminal activities. Fortunately we learned that there are many plans and initiatives in place to address our concerns, which include the need for a greater police presence, additional external resources and technology to reduce crime, late night street parties, Divvy bike controls, hotel occupancy oversight, and recurring motorcycle illegal activity.
We are in constant contact with CPD and our Aldermen and plan to have regularly scheduled joint meetings to maintain strong communications and governance. The safety and security of all residents, all businesses and all visitors and guests remains our highest priority with our public safety partners.
MEETING SUMMARY
Commander Stevens highlighted the following aspects of the 18th District plan to curb the increase in violence and lawlessness in the neighborhood.
Crime
Commander Stevens has requested and received two platoons of 50 officers from the recently created Critical Incident Response Team to supplement patrol officers in response to recent criminal activity. They will work the afternoon and evening watches. In addition she has requested and will receive additional bike patrols, canine officers, and mounted officers when not assigned to protests. The Commander has also re-established foot patrol officers on specific streets.
Police Presence
There will be a joint surge mission on weekends with the adjoining 1st District (Loop) to show a police presence on certain hot spots in both Districts. This will involve multiple police cars moving thru an area.
Late Night Street Parties, Illegal Drinking and Drugs, etc.
At the request of Alderman Reilly (42nd) and Alderman Hopkins (2nd), the Commander has placed no parking restrictions on specific residential streets from 11pm until 6am. RNRA encouraged Commander Stevens to increase this coverage as needed.
Divvy (Lyft) Bike
Aldermen Reilly and Hopkins have both put pressure on Divvy to address the issue of stolen bicycles and resulting criminal activities. Divvy has presented a three pronged plan involving credit card checks (no prepaid debit cards), reducing hours of operation and upgrading docking stations with stronger locking devices. If these changes don’t work, the Aldermen said they will require Divvy to replace all of the docking stations with new theft proof units at their expense.
Hotels
At a recent meeting with the Hotel Management Association, Alderman Reilly told the hotels they had to have a security guard in the hotel lobby with a clipboard to check off the names of the people who are registered guests. Only two persons per room will be allowed. They will have only two key cards issued to the named occupants. The hotels were notified that the occupant’s friends were entering the hotels through the fire exits and that the hotels needed to address this issue. Sgt. Schenk said the Community Policing Team is visiting the hotels to advise management of their obligations.
Motorcycles
The Illinois State Police (ISP) has a motorcycle contingent. Commander Stevens has requested ISP to attend a roll call and instruct CPD officers on specific methods and laws to curtail illegal motorcycle activities. Alderman Reilly reminded the Commander that he had a law passed last year that made “straight pipes” illegal.
NEXT STEPS
We will continue to provide alerts, updates and details as we receive them. We realize that this is just a start and there is much more that needs to be accomplished. This is a work in progress, but please know that our Aldermen and the CPD 18th District are working overtime on our behalf to address all of the issues that are affecting the quality of life and safety for River North residents.

Attend Your CAPS Beat Meeting
This is an opportunity for you to share your concerns directly with CPD.  These meetings have most recently been via Zoom.

CAPS Beat Meetings are posted on the RNRA Event Calendar: RNRAChicago.org.  Not sure what Beat you are in? CLICK HERE.

REMEMBER
If you see something, say something. Call 911!  Do not assume that someone else will report crime. Take and send videos whenever possible.  Do not call 311 to report criminal activity. The police don’t know what is going on if we don’t tell them. We provide additional eyes and ears on the street!  911 calls will help us to secure additional CPD resources. We need to demonstrate to city leaders that our residents mean business and have zero tolerance for illegal activities.

If your building is not a member of the River North Residents Association, now is the time to join our organization of over 70 homeowner associations/rental complexes and 20,000 members. Ask your Property Manager or HOA Board Leaders to go to   https://rnrachicago.org/join/. There is strength in numbers.

To find out more about how you can help and become more active in supporting quality of life issues in our neighborhood, volunteer at https://rnrachicago.org/volunteer/ 

Join RNRA for a Ward Park Clean-up on August 15th – PITCH IN FOR THE PARKS

Volunteer to Pitch in for Ward Park!

This summer, the Chicago Parks Foundation, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and local communities, is leading a citywide volunteer initiative to help keep our parks clean.

Over the past few months, park budgets have been stretched and there are fewer seasonal employees.  If we provide the volunteers, the Chicago Parks Foundation will provide clean-up supplies and safety guidelines to help support our park’s ongoing maintenance.

Join the RNRA in Ward Park on Saturday, August 15th, from 9:00 am – 11:00 am and help us “Pitch in for the Parks.”

Protective gloves, trash bags and tools will be provided.  Volunteers will work in groups of ten or less and physical distancing guidelines will be enforced.  Face masks/coverings must be worn at all times.  Children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a responsible adult.  Registration is required.

Can we count on you to “Pitch in for the Parks?”

Neighborhood Update Regarding August 4th Shooting Incident on Oak Street

Messagae from Alderman Reilly – Reilly Reports 8/5/2020

Dear Neighbors,

Yesterday, shortly after 4:00pm, three individuals were shot on Oak Street, between Rush Street and Michigan Avenue. One victim succumbed to his injuries; he was later identified as Carlton Weekly, also known as rapper ‘FBG Duck.’ Weekly’s associate and his girlfriend were also shot and were transported to local hospitals for immediate care.

This was a targeted attack and an isolated incidentWeekly was a gang member who had been involved in an ongoing conflict with another rival gang. Recently, Weekly had taken to social media to taunt rival gang members and was widely broadcasting his location via social media yesterday when offenders shot him on Oak Street.

Chicago Police Department officers were already in the Gold Coast yesterday prior to the shooting, responding to reports of an individual with a gun on the same block of Oak. Shortly after, two cars pulled up and four gunmen emerged, shot Weekly, his associate, and his girlfriend, and fled the scene. The officers who responded to the earlier call requested backup immediately upon hearing the shots and were on the scene within minutes.

The Chicago Police Department is reviewing security footage from the area, and I am hopeful they will be able to identify and arrest these brazen criminals.

As Alderman, I do not have jurisdiction over Chicago Police Department staffing or deployment downtown. I have been working around the clock these past few months with the Chicago Police Department, Mayor Lightfoot and her team, and other City safety agencies to review security issues in detail and discuss the Department’s plan to address ongoing safety concerns in downtown Chicago.

In fact, at the time of this incident, I was in a meeting with Mayor Lightfoot, Superintendent Brown, Deputy Chief O’Shea, Commander Stevens, Alderman Hopkins, representatives from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and other stakeholders to discuss safety concerns downtown and near the Magnificent Mile. We are working on strategies to address crime downtown, and I will keep you updated on these collaborative efforts.

One strategy that has recently been implemented is the Chicago Police Department’s new Critical Incident Response Team, comprised of 200 officers who provide rapid response to large-scale events requiring Police attention. This team supplements the downtown Police districts when not dispatched to large events. This year, protests have been a significant drain on local district resources, and this team will provide real-time response, allowing the districts to free up their resources to maintain public safety downtown.

Chicago has some of the strictest gun control legislation of any major city in the United States. However due to relaxed laws in neighboring states like Indiana, it is easy to obtain illegal firearms and difficult for our laws to be effective. I am hopeful that with the addition of a new Federal initiative targeting gun trafficking and violent crime, that will change.

As many of you may know, Operation Legend is a new Federal law enforcement initiative in Chicago, which adds personnel and much-needed resources to fight violent crime in Chicago.

Under the leadership of John R. Lausch Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, the federal government is sending hundreds of personnel from the FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Task Force, and Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to supplement state and local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to fight violent crime, particularly gun violence.

These personnel will work to supplement the Chicago Police Department’s efforts to conduct investigations into gangs, narcotics traffickers, violent offenders, and firearms traffickers.

To further support the Chicago Police Department in reducing violent crime, ATF has deployed its national Crime Gun Intelligence Mobile Command Vehicle to assist local law enforcement with analysis of crime scenes and spent shell casings, providing timely, efficient analysis of ballistic evidence from shootings in order to quickly disrupt violent criminals and prosecute those prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law.

Additionally, the Federal government has made $9.375 million available to the Chicago Police Department to fund hiring of 75 police officers.

A major benefit of the federal assistance is that their arrests will be federally prosecuted – which will likely result in stiffer penalties and real consequences for offenders.

I recently spoke with Anna Davlantes on WGN Radio to share updates on steps I’ve taken regarding the recent rise in crime and our need for additional resources.

Gun violence and brazen crime downtown – or any other neighborhood in the City – is unacceptable. The 42nd Ward is the economic engine of Chicago and we need additional police resources to ensure the financial gears of the City keep turning, tourists continue to visit, businesses are able to serve patrons to the best of their ability, and residents feel safe in their neighborhoods.

Please keep reporting your concerns, in real-time, by calling 9-1-1. CPD is a statistics-based department: the frequency of 9-1-1 calls goes a long way toward determining the amount of resources dedicated to address issues at specific locations.

Chicago has faced extraordinary circumstances this past year, a pandemic, severe economic distress, righteous civil  unrest and the unintended consequences that come with it. Chicago is a resilient City and we are going to be okay.

It is my honor to serve as your Alderman and I will continue to advocate on behalf of my constituents. Please contact my office if we can be of assistance to you in the future.

Sincerely,

Brendan Reilly
President Pro Tempore
Alderman, 42nd Ward

CPD Launches Community Safety Team & Critical Incident Response Team

Sudden and rapid increases in the rate of index crimes have occurred citywide in recent weeks, and Chicagoans are understandably concerned about their safety. In response, Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown has announced the launch of two new citywide teams that focus on combating violent crime, strengthening community relationships, and ensuring the safety of residents during large-scale events, marches, and demonstrations.

The Community Safety Team and the Critical Incident Response Team will work to improve public safety throughout Chicago, with the Community Safety Team focusing on strengthening community partnerships, and the Critical Incident Response Team concentrating on large, public events. Officers working on the teams come from Area Gang, Gun, Saturation, and Community Area Response teams.

The new Community Safety Team is designed to partner with local stakeholders to address violence, neighborhood concerns, and ongoing conflicts. The Community Safety Team consists of nearly 300 officers who will be deployed to scenes of shootings and robberies throughout the city, and will also work with community-based organizations, faith leaders, and neighborhood leaders to address the inequalities and injustice that seed the bitter fruits of violent crime.

The new Critical Incident Response Team consists of approximately 250 officers and is responsible for ensuring the safety of residents and visitors during times of mass gatherings. This unit will undergo specialized training and supervision, and will operate with appropriate field protocols for maintaining a presence at lawful gatherings (e.g., expressions of First Amendment rights), separate and distinct from an appropriate response to unlawful criminal activity (e.g., looting, mob actions, multiple offender incidents). As part of the new citywide team, the Department’s bike teams and the detail unit now fall under Critical Incident Response Team.

In addition, the Strategic Decision Support Center continues to supplement street resources, and can be quickly realigned as needed, to focus on rapidly developing events. The SDSC has been instrumental in a number of recent arrests downtown, and has acted upon information provided by concerned citizens. As always, residents are urged to call 911 to report any illegal activity they may have observed.

Clark Street in River North will Get Closures for Street Dining this Weekend.

Click here to read more from Block Club Chicago

Clark Street In River North Will Get Closures For Street Dining This Weekend

Blood Donors Urgently Needed

With many blood drives cancelled in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, blood banks have reported unprecedented shortages, and donors are urgently needed. For a limited time, blood donation centers run by the American Red Cross and Vitalant will test all donors for COVID-19 antibodies (Please note that this is NOT a COVID-19 test. Antibody tests provide insight as to whether a person has been previously exposed to COVID-19.).

Individuals interested in learning more can sign up for an upcoming free blood donor webinar series from Versiti Blood Centers, which will include a live Q&A section. Click here for more information.

Community Alert – Seeking to Identify Homicide Investigation – 18th District – July 19, 2020

Residential Building Safety Tips

To print a copy, CLICK HERE.

City to Reinstate Targeted COVID-19 Restrictions

Alderman Reilly’s COVID-19 Update: City to Reinstate Targeted COVID-19 Restrictions to Help Combat Recent Rise in Community Cases – Reilly Reports 7/20/2020

Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced a re-tightening of COVID-19 restrictions for bars, restaurants, gyms and personal services as a precautionary move in response to a recent increase in community cases of the virus. Throughout the pandemic, data has guided every move made by the City, and the recent uptick in cases as well as surging COVID-19 activity in other states around the country is cause for concern and motivated this move to dial back reopening in certain high-risk environments.

The reinstatement of certain restrictions will go into effect Friday, July 24 at 12:01 a.m., in order to allow businesses time to prepare. Restrictions will include: 

• Bars, taverns, breweries and other establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food license will no longer be able to serve customers indoors.
• Restaurants that serve alcohol will be allowed to continue to operate as long as they abide by ongoing COVID-19 guidance and existing regulations.
• Establishments without food may still provide outdoor service as they did under phase three.
• Maximum party size and table occupancy at restaurants, bars, taverns and breweries will be reduced to six people.
• Indoor fitness class size will be reduced to a maximum of 10 people.
• Personal services requiring the removal of face coverings will no longer be permitted (shaves, facials, etc.).
• Residential property managers will be asked to limit guest entry to five per unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties.

As CDPH recently announced, the city is back in a high-incidence state under Centers for Disease Control guidelines after topping 200 cases per day on a 7-day rolling average. As of Sunday, July 19, that number was 233. That increase has been driven in part by rising cases among young people 18-29 years old as the city has seen more social activity and interactions in bars, restaurants, parks and the lakefront. Chicago has also seen an increase in its percent positivity rate – the percentage of people tested who are positive for COVID-19 – after weeks of decline.

To prepare all business owners for the new guidance, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will be hosting a series of webinars this week. On July 21, BACP will hold a webinar for all business types to provide an overview of the new changes at 2:00 p.m., followed by a session just for restaurants and bars at 4:00 p.m. Sessions for health and fitness centers and personal services will be held later in the week. To register and learn more, visit chicago.gov/businessworkshops.

While people are encouraged to create a bubble of not more than 10 people that they have close contact with, they need to do so smartly and avoid “bubble trouble.” If a member of your bubble is not following guidance, they are putting you and others at risk.

This recent uptick in cases locally comes as other parts of the country are seeing a surge in new cases and the country overall is setting new highs for daily COVID-19 cases. Because of this, officials in Chicago decided to act quickly. Earlier this month, Dr. Arwady issued an emergency travel health order requiring travelers from states where cases are surging to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the city, including Chicago residents returning from these states. The updated list of states and information about exemptions to the order can be found here.

Throughout the pandemic, individuals who are infected with COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone who is, have been advised to quarantine. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease before a person knows they are sick, including if a traveler has been infected with the virus but does not have symptoms.

For more information, please visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.