One of downtown Chicago’s most notorious intersections may turn a corner next month.
Chicago and State is a place where there always seems to be an inordinate number of people just hanging around at all times of the day and night. It’s also been a focus for a series of wilding attacks in the summers of 2011 and 2012, and violent flash mob attacks in 2012. In the last two weeks there have been 30 crimes reported within 600 feet of the intersection.
The exact cause of all this is unclear, but people who live in the area point to a number of factors, including a run down liquor store and pawn shop across the street.
According to Wayne Magdziarz, Loyola University’s Vice President for Capital Planning, those stores are going away.
The leases for both the pawn shop at 10 West Chicago Avenue, and the liquor store at 6 West Chicago Avenue, expire in March and are not being renewed.
So what will replace them?
Loyola wants to fill the space with cops.
It has approached the Chicago Police Department about establishing a joint neighborhood police outpost in the spaces vacated by the stores. It will give both CPD and the Loyola University police force a visible presence in the center of a troubled area. The university did something similar in 2006 at 1113 West Granville Avenue on the edge of its Lakeshore Campus.
But Magdziarz says Loyola won’t do it alone. If the Chicago Police Department won’t come on board, the idea is dead. He says Loyola doesn’t want to be put in the position of being the de-facto police squad for the neighborhood.
While Loyola’s police force is armed and, from a legal standpoint, an actual full police force, it currently acts mainly as backup for the Chicago Police Department. The university doesn’t want that to change.