Residents and Alderman Seek Answers Amid Rising North River Violence – NBC Chicago
An overnight shooting in Chicago’s River North seriously injured a 30-year-old man, along with his neighbors and Ald. Brian Hopkins demanding solutions to recent increases in violence.
Thursday’s shooting happened just after 3 a.m. on the corner of Illinois and Dearborn, outside a building that houses Italian nightclub RPM and Underground.
Police say the shooting was at least the 40th on the Near North Side, which includes River North, since the start of the year. At least nine people have died in gun violence in the area.
Aldus. Brian Hopkins, who represents the city’s 2nd Ward, believes bars and nightclubs allowed to operate until 5 a.m. bear at least some responsibility for the spike in crime.
“They are attracted to late-hour bars. They’re drawn to the nightlife and it’s a problem after the bars close when they go back to their vehicles to pick up weapons,” he said.
Hopkins went on to add that he believed the suspects in these cases did not actually live in the area and that he believed they were coming for the late night scene.
“It was a summer (unlike any we’ve witnessed), he said. “It’s really awful to see this level of violence in the city center.
Neighbors share Hopkins’ worries, feeling nervous about the recent spike in not just shootings, but crime in general.
“I think there’s always a worry, especially if you work late, it makes you not want to take public transport or go for a walk,” said one resident.
Several incidents in River North have made headlines recently, including a July 10 drive-by shooting that left four people injured. that’s four injured. In May, a mass shooting occurred in a McDonald’s neighborhood, killing two and injuring at least nine others.
While Hopkins says it will take bars and the community as a whole to get this situation under control, he thinks more police are needed.
“They’re exhausted,” he said. “You send a tired police officer into a chaotic and dangerous situation, and that’s a problem and that’s a recipe for disaster.”
The alderman tells NBC 5 that there is legislation pending with the licensing committee that would require end-of-hour bars to come up with a security plan to help bring violent crime under control.