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Wrigleyville Paddy's Weekend Revelry Could Have Been Worse, Officials Say

By Ariel Cheung | March 16, 2015 6:00pm | Updated on March 16, 2015 6:25pm
 Dozens of people were either arrested or ticketed for public drinking in Lakeview over the weekend.
Dozens of people were either arrested or ticketed for public drinking in Lakeview over the weekend.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

LAKEVIEW — Widespread St. Patrick's Day revelry in Lakeview over the weekend led to 16 arrests and 24 tickets for violations like public drinking, officials said Monday.

Most of the tickets were for drinking on the public way, and all the arrests were for misdemeanors, Chicago Police spokesman Martin Maloney told DNAinfo late Monday.

The rush of activity resulted in some lengthy waits for law enforcement. One source noted a 47-minute wait for Chicago police to respond to a disturbance in the 2600 block of North Halsted Street around 3 p.m. Saturday. Other calls around that time had responses between 20 and 41 minutes.

But overall, though, Maloney said there were "very few issues."

Ald. Tom Tunney's office has been taking feedback from residents about how to improve policing over the St. Patrick's Day weekend, said Erin Duffy, director of community outreach for the 44th ward.

"Our feedback has been better than years in the past, but we want to build on that. I think the commander did a great job of having the area covered, but there's always room for improvement," Duffy said Monday.

Most of the complaints centered on the large crowds and people drinking in the street, Duffy said.

Earlier this month, 19th District Commander Elias Voulgaris assured residents that a team of officers dedicated to entertainment areas would start patrolling at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Voulgaris also said officers met with local bars beforehand to discuss enforcement plans and offer suggestions on crowd control.

On Monday, Maloney said the department could not provide specifics on deployment, "but we can tell you we always provide enough personnel to ensure public safety." Some officers from the vice unit were called in, while others worked overtime to police the area, Duffy said.

Lakeview resident Amalie Drury called police Saturday evening after noticing a group of people clustered around an unconscious man, she told DNAinfo Chicago.

"I'm thinking his friends think this is funny — they're taking selfies — but he could seriously have alcohol poisoning," said Drury, who lives in the 3800 block of Wilton Avenue.

It only took about five minutes for police and a fire truck to respond, Drury said. Officials were able to revive the man, and no one was taken into custody, she said.

Drury said she doesn't mind the holiday melee, and usually ends up with a few funny stories once the weekend is over.

Then again, "it's funny until it's not. I get worried that people are really going to die from alcohol poisoning," she said.

The Crime in Wrigleyville + Boystown blog kept tabs on the green beer crowd Saturday and Sunday, including what it said was a rundown of police calls over the weekend.

BEER on Clark, 3415 N. Clark St., had a relatively calm night, said general manager Troy Heldt. While one customer got a little rowdy, the bar didn't have to resort to a police call, although Heldt said he felt more than equipped to do so.

"They've got their hands full, but they're here, and they work hand-in-hand with the business," Heldt said. "It's comforting to have that police presence when you know the crowds are going to be this big. I think they do a good job."

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