Boystown adding more officers to patrol summer streets

Thu. May 29, 2014 12:38 PM by Andy Ambrosius

Chicago, IL - Fans of Boystown nightlife will soon see more officers on North Halsted Street as Chicago police partner with area business owners to invest more manpower on the popular party corridor.

The Northalsted Business Alliance, which represents more than 80 businesses in the Boystown neighborhood, announced it plans to invest roughly $30,000 in extra, private security for its annual summer safety initiative. The group spent the same amount on security last summer, which was $5,000 more than in 2012.

The enhanced and more visible security team of off-duty police officers serves as an additional arm of safety patrols, specifically on weekends and busy days during the summer. A&T Security will provide the officers in 2014 after winning an RFP process, which included proposals from three firms.

Additional security provided by the organization is in conjunction with the 19th District Police Department's new "entertainment detail." Created in 2013, the initiative boosts the number of Chicago police officers in areas where people party the hardest, like in Wrigleyville and Boystown.

"As we make final plans for our two biggest events of the year, Pride Fest and Northalsted Market Days, we look forward to offering a fun and safe experience for all," said Alliance President Ramesh Ariyanayakam. "A proactive investment in additional security, in cooperation with the 19th District Police Department, serves the community well."

Plans to boost privatized security on Halsted came after a video went viral in 2011 of a 25-year-old man being punched, kicked and stabbed by a group of nearly a dozen youth in Boystown. It raised serious concerns by neighbors and neighborhood businesses about safety.

That year, the Northalsted Business Alliance took a proactive approach to hire additional security, as well as have the off-duty officers wear security uniforms and vests to increase visibility.

The extra security measures comes as two of the organization's largest events – Chicago Pride Fest and Northalsted Market Days – gear up for their biggest years yet. Funds from those two events, as well as from local business owners, help to fund contracting the off-duty officers.