CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Avenue and State Street; a troubled River North intersection as of late, including a deadly mass shooting late last month.
The Cook County Sheriff wants to be part of the solution by setting up shop at that crime ridden corner, according to a local alderman.
Only on 2, Tara Molina explains the new strategy.
Chicago Police said they’d keep a fixed post of officers at that location since the deadly shooting, and now they’ll be joined by another fixed post, with the Cook County Sheriff’s office opening a new post there in the next couple months, according to downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd).
A deadly mass shooting rocked the area in May, leaving two dead and seven wounded.
If you’ve been through here since, you’ve seen a heightened Chicago Police presence, as we’ve tracked a continued uptick in violent crime across the downtown area, specifically here in River North, where we are seeing aggravated assaults, aggravated batteries, criminal sexual assaults, and motor vehicle thefts at all times highs since 2015.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office moved into the neighborhood in January, to provide more law enforcement in the area in an effort to curb that crime. They opened a new command post at a building at Clark and Illinois in April.
“We got the memo, and we have added more and more and more resources,” Sheriff Tom Dart said.
A CPD spokesperson called that move the “latest example of our commitment to collaboration and community.”
River North is a pillar of our central business district and popular downtown destination.
- And the benefits for the new CCSP office are exponential
- Our city center will see an increased law enforcement presence.
- CPD and the Cook County Sherriff’s Office will have expanded interagency communication.
- And we’ll be able to streamline key initiatives to protect residents.
- This new office is just the latest example of our commitment to collaboration and community.
Since April, the Sheriff’s police have made gun and stolen vehicle arrests on their own, responding to a carjacking downtown just last week.
Since the end of April, they’ve made 182 traffic stops, and 2,562 premise checks. That’s when officers proactively check on businesses, residences, and more.
Sheriff’s Police stats from River North from April 22, 2022 to June 14,2022:
- 2,562 premise checks
- 182 traffic stops
- 125 merchant public safety engagements (this is checking in with businesses about concerns/handing safety information)
- 85 assists to another agency
- 53 foot patrols
- 29 citizen assists
- 20 K9 assists to another agency
But more specifically, they’ve helped CPD respond to violence in River North.
“We have been getting guns, arresting people for those things, carjackings. We’ve made some carjacking arrests. And all of this has been done in unison with the Chicago police department and we are seeing very positive results,” Dart said. “I have a lot of other areas I have to cover, but to squeeze areas where I feel we have things pretty well covered and bring resources into areas where Chicago will tell me we could use a little bit more help and the data shows that.”
In a case at the end of April, a sheriff’s police officer responded to a shooting a Dearborn and Hubbard streets, able to provide first aid to the victim. In another case, at the end of May, at Chicago and Cambridge avenues, sheriff’s police helped CPD respond to a shooting with injuries.
- On May 13, three men were arrested and charged with aggravated unlawful use of weapon after two ghost guns and one serialized firearm in a vehicle following a traffic stop for no visible registration. None of the men in the car had a valid FOID or concealed carry license. The stop occurred near Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.
- On May 30, a 16-year-old was arrested for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after a loaded firearm was recovered during a traffic stop in the 700 block of North State Street.
Stolen vehicle recovery/arrest:
“On June 3, Sheriff’s Police officers recovered a Ford Focus that was reported stolen in Chicago. Sheriff’s Police officers spotted the vehicle at Wacker and Michigan. Officers stopped the vehicle stopped at Franklin and Randolph and took the driver into custody. The driver and the vehicle were turned over to CPD,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said.
Assists to CPD:
- On May 29, Sheriff’s Police assisted CPD during a call of shots fired at Chicago Avenue and Cambridge Avenue in River North around 10 p.m. Officers learned that a woman was shot while sitting in her vehicle. CCSPD assisted securing the scene and canvassing the area.
- On May 11, Sheriff’s Police assisted CPD with incident involving 200-300 juveniles near North Avenue and Astor Street in River North.
- On May 4, Sheriff’s Police officers, along with CPD, responded to a large fight that occurred at the first block of West Ontario Street in River North at around 3:30 a.m.
- On April 23, a Sheriff’s Police officer heard gun shots near Dearborn and Hubbard in River North. The officer was also flagged down by bystanders who said a man had been shot at 116 West Hubbard. Our officer responded immediately to the scene and called for additional assistance. When the officer found a man with visible gunshot wounds to his right and left arm. Our officer applied a tourniquet to the victim’s left arm while CFD applied one to the right arm.
“Our office responded to one carjacking that occurred on June 10 as part of the Vehicular Hijacking Task Force, which includes CPD, State Police and other agencies . The 71-year-old victim was carjacked on Chestnut Street. A juvenile was later taken into custody. CPD handled the arrest,” a Sheriff’s office spokesperson said.
“We talk with CPD multiple times, every day, and they have our radios. We have theirs. We talk to each other. Back each other up. It’s a very, very well integrated partnership,” Dart said.
With a move planned to an area CPD has been covering, for a reason. The sheriff’s office is “exploring a second location” in River North, and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said it will be at Chicago and State.
Hopkins said CPD is short at least 2,000 patrol officers, and the impact is showing up citywide, so the coordination with the sheriff’s office is especially helpful.
“They’re coordinating and working together in a cooperative spirit and it ultimately serves the neighborhood much better,” he said.
Hopkins said we could see the opening of the new sheriff’s River North command post sometime this summer, with the sheriff’s office presence downtown making a difference crime stats can’t capture.
“Even just the uniformed staff coming and going on a constant basis creates that additional visibility, which can be a disincentive to criminal activity,” he said.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose ward also includes parts of downtown Chicago, said, “The Sheriff’s presence in River North has been a tremendous force multiplier.”
“They coordinate with city and state law enforcement on carjacking missions, daily, and have also helped CPD cover crime hotspots throughout downtown Chicago. Their presence and coordination with CPD is greatly appreciated by downtown businesses and residents alike,” Reilly added.
A spokesperson for the River North Residents Association said they’ve been extremely concerned about the spike in crime here, and while it’s too early to tell any major difference, they say the work Cook County is doing to assist CPD is encouraging and appreciated.
“We’re very concerned about recent incidents of crime in River North and have expressed the community’s frustration, anxiety, and fear to both public safety and elected officials.
As we stated at the press conference on April 27, we’re very pleased with the opening of the new River North Command Center, and very appreciative of the efforts of Alderman Reilly and Sheriff Dart to make it happen. The work that the Deputies are doing to supplement and support 18th District CPD Officers, the local connections that are being made, and the increase in law enforcement presence are all encouraging, but it’s too early to tell whether this have a material and sustainable impact.
Like all Chicagoans, we’re hoping for a safer summer for residents, businesses and visitors.”