Perception Not Reality On Mag Mile Safety: McCarthy

12 people arrested Saturday as unruly teens crowd Gold Coast streets

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy reiterated Monday that his department has safety and security under control in the North Michigan Avenue area.

McCarthy spoke to reporters at his weekly news conference held to showcase the amount of illegal guns seized in the city.

On Saturday evening, 11 juveniles and one adult were arrested for allegedly causing a disturbance in the Gold Coast neighborhood. The suspects were part of a larger group of up to 70 young people were seen disrupting and running through traffic along North Michigan Avenue.

But McCarthy says that intelligence sources had tipped off police that the group was on the Red Line and headed downtown, and they were met with a contingent of officers.

"We met them when they came off the train. We walked them around like we did the NATO protestors, and when they crossed the line into what could be criminal-type activity, from just being kids, we took effective action," McCarthy said.

Recent incidents along the Magnificent Mile have prompted concerns from many area residents and visitors, including last month when more than two dozen teens were arrested after groups began randomly attacking each other and pedestrians.

But McCarthy says its being blown out of proportion by the media, creating a perception that there's a problem.

"So far to date, there's been no major incidents, but what's getting reported is mayhem, and it's patently false," McCarthy says, claiming there's been no robberies, thefts or property damage.

McCarthy also revealed there's been three or four other incidents involving large groups of teens where nothing significant happened. He says the police force has a strategy in place, and it's worked every time.

"Those kids have a right to go to Michigan Avenue. The fact is, we have a zero tolerance for behaviors that are going to be borderline criminal, that are going to raise the bar and put us in a different place," McCarthy said.

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