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Gold Coast Residents, Cops Join Forces to Fight Neighborhood Crime

Residents near Clark and Division streets say their block is an open-air drug market--and police don’t dispute it.

Now, officers and citizens are coming together to show criminals they’re serious about safety.

Mel Jones, an organizer with the Clark and Division Community Group is "fed up."

"I’d like to be able to walk to work, to the Red Line, go to Jewel," Jones said.

But the uptick in crime in the Gold Coast neighborhood is concerning for those who live there.

From cell phone thefts and carjackings, to drug transactions near the entrances to the Red Line police and residents want the criminals to know they are watching.

Ald. Brian Hopkins, in whose 2nd Ward the crimes have occurred, backs the partnership.

“People are taking back the streets that is exactly what’s happening," he said. "No one should be afraid to walk out the door under their condo high rise and see a drug deal."

Hopkins is constantly taking calls about the crime "every day," he said.

He’s working with Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot and police to up patrols and add motion-sensored cameras to this block.

Some residents, like Jeff Wolin, said they plan to stand on these street corners just as the criminals do.

"One would like to think a critical mass of people day and night would drive the traffic away," he said.

A show of force is what residents hope will be the start of a solution.

"The next conversation needs to be about, OK we can clean this spot up but what are we going to do about more consequence and deterrence," Jone said.

Police plan to add more officers to the area both on foot and on bikes, they said.

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