Tunney calls on police to provide patrol details for Boystown, proposes special unit

Wed. July 6, 2011 3:03 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

Public safety meeting planned for Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.

Chicago, IL - 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney is calling on Chicago Police to provide up to date information on how many officers are assigned to Boystown during high traffic hours as a growing number of residents are speaking out about increased violence in the neighborhood.

Tunney, who will address concerns during a meeting with residents Wednesday night, said if the number of officers appears to be insufficient to keep the neighborhood safe, he will ask police to put more officers on the street during the later hours.

The regularly planned monthly CAPS meeting is expected to draw a large crowd in the wake of recent violence.

The attack of a 25-year-old man Sunday night near Halsted and Aldine was caught on video and has raised the level of concern in the North Side community, which is the central hub to Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The video shows the man being punched and kicked by nearly a dozen African American youth before being stabbed, while a small group cheered on the offenders.

Chicago Police have called the attack an "isolated incident," but Tunney says he is "extremely concerned."

"We have been dealing with late night crime on our streets for years," Tunney said in a statement released to ChicagoPride.com. "As a victim of a robbery myself, I understand everyone's concern and I share it."

Tunney also noted budgetary constraints and hundreds of retirements over the last few years have caused the police ranks citywide to fall by an estimated 3,000 - 4,000 officers.

"That is not acceptable but it is the budgetary reality for all Chicagoans at this time," Tunney said.

He called expectations that beat officers cover high concentration areas of entertainment and hospitality venues, like Boystown, "unrealistic" and has proposed an "entertainment detail" be formed to assist the beat officers.

"We all must work with the police to effectively fight crime," he said.

The monthly beat meeting, with Alderman Tunney and 23rd District Commander Kathleen Boehmer expected to attend, begins at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6. In anticipation of a larger crowd, the venue has been moved to the auditorium at Inter-American Elementary School, 851 W. Waveland Ave. (Waveland and Fremont, behind the Center on Halsted).