SOUTH LOOP — A murder on Sunday in a South Loop alley has generated a new neighborhood group and a lot of questions for Downtown police.
What was billed as an "informal" gathering Tuesday about rising violence in the neighborhood drew a much bigger turnout than expected, leaving one neighbor scrambling to get his daughter's karaoke machine so he could emcee the event.
The mood among guests was serious, and unified: they are concerned that their growing neighborhood is changing, and not for the better.
"The numbers tell a pretty compelling story that something is wrong," said Dave Sudzus, who lives next to the alley where a 45-year-old man was shot dead Sunday morning.
Sudzus and others have moved to create a new group dedicated to curbing rising violence in the area: the South Loop Safety Association.
The ad hoc group solicited ideas from neighbors Tuesday at The Spoke & Bird, 205 E. 18th St., and seemed to conclude more that more surveillance cameras are needed from landlords and building associations.
Police and prosecutors said they arrested a suspect charged with Sunday's murder after identifying him via cameras in the alley.
Chicago Police Cmdr. Robert Klich, head of the 1st District, which includes the South Loop, said the issue "hits close to home" for him because one of his officers was shot a few blocks from the alley just a month ago.
"How do you reduce crime? This is an awesome start right now," he said of the gathering.
But some neighbors questioned how invested police are in the South Loop, a neighborhood known for brick lofts and a growing number of luxury high-rises.
"I never see officers around, except when they're taking tags off cars," Anne Calcagno, a neighbor, said.
Klich told Calcagno that "we're doing what we can."
Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), whose ward covers the site of Sunday's shooting, shared the same sentiment.
"I'm working with a limited amount of money and the ward is large," Dowell said. "But I'm working for you."
Sunday's shooting has generated a new neighborhood group: the South Loop Safety Association.— David Lee Matthews (@DavidLMatthews) August 31, 2016
Downtown police commander Robert Klich addresses neighbor concerns Tuesday at an impromptu event about South Loop violence. [DNAinfo/David Matthews}
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