Security Consultants: NATO Fears Overblown

NATO security consultants on Monday night tried their best to allay fears held by residents who live near McCormick Place, insisting that it'll actually be one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.

Chicago's former police superintendent, Terry Hillard, and Arnett Heintze, the former head of the Secret Service in Chicago, met with Prairie District neighbors at the Second Presbyterian Church.

"We traveled to over 20 countries for NATO summits in the past and we have not seen a pattern of concern that our community is expressing right now," said Heintze.

Hillard said residents should have faith that police and other security officials will keep things in check.

"I just want to be sure that there's no trouble, no damage, no somebody going out and going berserk and then the reaction to berserk and then the reaction to the reaction," said resident Rowena Balogun.

Earlier in the day, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other pastors said they would join the largest protest march from the loop to McCormick Place, where world leaders will be meeting.

That, said Hillard, should also put some mind at ease.

"I don't think Rev. Jackson would lend his name and his credibility to that protest if it was going to be violent," he said.

The NATO Summit is scheduled for May 20-21.

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