As you may remember, there were a large number of unanticipated youth that came to 53rd street and the general vicinity the Saturday before Halloween and on Halloween in 2016. While most of the youth acted appropriately, some engaged in behavior that threatened the safety of the businesses and the public. We want to send a clear message that our community will not condone illicit and illegal behavior. However, we also understand the appeal of our vibrant, inviting and safe retail corridor; the propensity for good youth to cross lines; and the lack of opportunity for our teens to engage in safe and inviting activities.
To this end, our offices have been leading conversations on a plan, along with the Vitality Committee, to anticipate increased traffic on the 53rd Street Retail Corridor, to have engaging teen activities and to mitigate any illicit behavior. This year we will have an additional security presence and community ambassadors along the 53rd Street corridor to make sure we can handle the increased foot traffic. Parents please help us by letting your teens know that illicit behavior will not be tolerated and that we have organized activities planned for them as well.
The planned organized activities specifically targeting older teens include but are not limited to: Peace Fest – a free party at the Promontory on Friday, October 27th featuring Lil Bibby; a party on Halloween night at the Midway Plaisance featuring DJ Mike P and discounted movies at Harper Theater on Saturday, October 28th.
Our goal is to create a safe community experience for Halloween 2017. We are aware that part of the issue last year was the lack of opportunities for positive engagement with our older teens. However, we reiterate, parents please let your teens know that illicit behavior will not be tolerated. But also let them know that we have organized activities planned for them.
This has definitely been a community effort so we would like to publicly thank members of the Vitality Committee which includes representatives from the community at large, the Blue Gargoyle, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, the SECC, the United Church of Hyde Park, the HPKCC, the University of Chicago Police, and the Chicago Police Department’s 2nd District. Thank you all. We look forward to a safe Halloween celebration.
Alderman Leslie Hairston
Alderman Sophia King