Hundreds Attend Boystown CAPS Meeting

Residents question police, alderman about perceived increase in violence

By Alex Perez
|  Wednesday, Jul 6, 2011  |  Updated 11:00 PM CDT
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Several hundred people gathered to question police and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) about a recent spate of violence in the Boystown neighborhood. Others expressed concern that minorities from outside the neighborhood are unfairly being targeted.

Several hundred people gathered to question police and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) about a recent spate of violence in the Boystown neighborhood. Others expressed concern that minorities from outside the neighborhood are unfairly being targeted.

Several hundred people gathered Wednesday night in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood to question police and the alderman about their plans to ensure safety in the wake of a seemingly-increased level of violence.

The residents, mostly from the Boystown area, came together at the Inter-American Elementary Magnet School just days after the highly-publicized beating and attack of a man late Sunday night. It was the third reported attack in three weeks. 

Police said the attacks weren't connected and said crime levels in the area are steady and under control.  Still, there was a collective anger directed at authorities and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) for their handling of the perceived increase in crime.

"Commander and alderman, please stop trying to insist that Boystown is a safe neighborhood.  The media is listening now and the attacks speak loud and clear: Boystown is a danger zone," resident Kevin O'Brien said, eliciting applause.

Separately, Tunney refuted the notion, saying violence in the community isn't new and that its prevention has been a focus for years.  He said he'd like more officers in the busy business district and is working with officials about making that a reality.

"We're here to keep the neighborhood safe for the residents, for the visitors and for the diversity that makes this community special," said Tunney.

Outside, a group of protestors argued residents are unfairly blaming the incidents on minorities who visit from other neighborhoods. 

"You cannot take these people that committed this act of violence -- it was violence, but you cannot use this as a way to profile people," said Joshua McCool with the group Gender Just.

The next CAPS meeting is scheduled for August 3.

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