The city of Chicago is upping protective measures along the Magnificent Mile as part of an overall plan to improve safety along the busy corridor.
A total of 16 street ambassadors, donning blue and yellow vests, began patrolling North Michigan Avenue Friday, acting as eyes and ears and serving as additional help to visitors and locals. Furthermore, they're also helping Chicago police combat crime.
"It’s good to know they are out here protecting us while we do our shopping," one shopper said.
"Now that I hear about it, it makes me feel good. It gives me a little more security," commented another.
Organized by the Magnificent Mile Association, the ambassadors are paid through grant money from the city. They'll work seven days a week, from 3:30 p.m. until midnight.
Like so many of America's main streets, Michigan Avenue took a major hit during the two years of the pandemic.
Multiple stores dealt with smash-and-grab robberies, and last year, Water Tower Place lost its streetside staple: Macy's.
Many shoppers told NBC 5 they welcome the new program and any extra precautions that encourage public safety.
"It’s nice though to see that people care and stuff to be out there doing it. You know what im saying? Versus just the police. So I think it’s nice to hear that people care enough about their community," one person said.
"We feel safe, I haven’t seen anything, no warnings, it's pretty good," another stated. "I’m loving it."
The Street Ambassador Program runs through Oct. 31. The ambassadors will also be in contact with businesses and restaurants in the corridor.