LAKEVIEW — Making good on a pledge made in its bid for Central Lakeview money, the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce is hiring private security to patrol two major thoroughfares in the neighborhood.
Since wresting control of the $800,000 special service area budget from Chicago View in November, Lakeview East has designated crime reduction as a top priority for the business district it absorbed for 2017.
The private security firm or firms would patrol the Wrigleyville entertainment district along Clark and Halsted Streets, the area around the Belmont "L" station, North Broadway and the southern Lakeview portions of Halsted Street and Sheffield Avenue.
Particularly with the Belmont "L" station, these densely populated areas have heavy foot traffic — and higher concentrations of crime in Lakeview. Crime in the neighborhood rose about 5 percent last year compared to 2015, with sharp spikes in robberies and burglaries that have even Town Hall Cmdr. Marc Buslik concerned.
The chamber is looking for security firms that are familiar with Lakeview and can identify "hot spots" of crime. The contractors would patrol the business districts and call 911 to report issues, while also guiding pedestrians and addressing public nuisances.
The chamber suggested weekly written reports and coordination with the entertainment districts would help bolster security and asked that pitches include information on service hours, manpower and provided services.
The proposals are due at 5 p.m. Friday, giving those who first learned of the request from 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney's Thursday newsletter a short 24-hour turnaround to submit a proposal.
The requests were posted on the chamber's website Jan. 12.
The chamber declared last year that creating a security plan for the area around the Belmont "L" station was "No. 1 on our plate," according to Maureen Martino, the chamber's executive director.
In a move unheard of by most in the special service area community, Lakeview East replaced Chicago View as the service provider for Special Service Area 17 — a special district set up in which property owners pay extra taxes that go toward improvements within the area. The hundreds of thousands of dollars are meant to better the business districts from which the tax money is siphoned through promotion, public safety and aesthetic improvements.
Combined, the two business districts include Sheffield Avenue from Irving Park Road to Diversey Parkway; Clark Street from Byron Street to Diversey; Belmont Avenue from Racine Avenue to Halsted Street; Halsted from Belmont to Diversey and Broadway from Grace to Diversey.
With the Chicago Cubs baseball season, tourism, street festivals and major events like the Chicago Pride Parade in Lakeview, the security firm will need additional coverage from March through October.
The chamber also asks that applicants coordinate with security firms working in other Lakeview areas "to provide full, uninterrupted coverage of the district." Northalsted Business Alliance, for example, already provides summer security in Boystown.
There would also be limited security from November to March. The firm might also work with the Chicago Police Department and coordinate coverage and participate in roll calls.
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