Lollapalooza leaders confident of security in wake of Highland Park shooting

Less than a month after a gunman climbed a fireplace escape and positioned himself on a rooftop to fireside rifle rounds right into a mass of Independence Day paradegoers beneath in Highland Park, Chicago officers mentioned they’re confident they will hold one of town’s largest festivals secure this weekend.

Lollapalooza begins Thursday in Grant Park, showcasing greater than 170 acts and internet hosting tons of of 1000’s of individuals. Rich Guidice, govt director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, mentioned town has been growing and constructing on its security plans across the pageant because it began being held right here in 2005, and this year was no completely different in the wake of Highland Park.

“We, this group that is part of putting together Lollapalooza, reviewed the Highland Park incident, and that’s typically what we do (in) instances that take place across the country,” Guidice mentioned. “We’ll review best practices on our end and see if there’s anything that we need to do to modify based on what we’re seeing around the country.”

Attacks just like the one in Highland Park at all times spur fears of copycats, and it’s unimaginable to completely safe a pageant the dimensions of Lollapalooza in an open-air metropolis park, consultants have mentioned.

Jose Colon, whose Headrest Barbershop faces Grant Park throughout Michigan Avenue, mentioned the menace of violence on the mass gathering is on his thoughts after the Highland Park shooting.

“There’s no way to absolutely secure everybody’s safety,” he mentioned. “Who’s to say that can’t happen again? … Anybody can rent a room, anybody can get in here. … The fear is always there.”

Mass shooting issues round main out of doors occasions rose sharply after the 2017 shooting at a music pageant in Las Vegas, an assault that killed dozens when a gunman fired bullets down from a high-rise lodge. And it was later found that the Las Vegas suspect, Stephen Paddock, had months earlier reserved two rooms on the Blackstone Hotel on Michigan Avenue with a transparent view of Lollapalooza, however he by no means confirmed up through the August pageant.

That year’s Lollapalooza had enhanced security because of this, which included extra cops, extra fencing, new bag restrictions and airport-style screening on the entrances of Grant Park.

During the current Fourth of July shooting, Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo allegedly used his perch over the parade to kill seven and injure greater than two dozen others. Police later discovered 83 spent shell casings and three 30-round magazines on the rooftop, police and prosecutors have mentioned.

Days after the Highland Park shooting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot mentioned Chicago spends “an enormous amount of time” on any large-scale occasion months forward of time, and loads of planning is concentrated on security.

“It doesn’t get any more American, in my view, and an expression of who we are as a people, than the gathering in Highland Park,” Lightfoot mentioned then. “It’s still with an extraordinarily heavy heart, not just in Highland Park but what happens on a daily basis here in Chicago, what we’ve seen in other tragedies recently.”

There are not any identified threats to Lollapalooza up to now, Guidice mentioned. Security plans embody having a command submit, tons of of cameras, personal EMS and greater than 1,000 personal security individuals on web site.

“We have this event down to time frames when we know we’re going to get more impacted with more crowds and when we expect crowds to be developing in line,” Guidice mentioned. “So we have it down to that level of detail for this event in particular.”

Helicopter surveillance is at all times half of the plan for an occasion resembling Lollapalooza, Guidice mentioned, giving police a transparent view. The metropolis has additionally relationships with close by motels and companies alongside Michigan Avenue and have promoted coaching on reporting suspicious exercise to them.

The OEMC can also be in fixed coordination with the CTA and Chicago police’s downtown districts, Guidice mentioned. The metropolis additionally works with federal companions such because the FBI.

Guidice didn’t give out info on what number of Chicago officers will likely be monitoring the downtown districts. Chicago police referred all questions on Lollapalooza security to OEMC.

As in years previous, the pageant will display attendees with an “airport-style search,” organizers wrote on the occasion’s web site.

Guidice beneficial that individuals be cognizant of their environment, even when the occasion closes, as a result of there are doubtlessly 100,000 individuals leaving on the identical time.

The downtown space additionally has seen its share of high-profile violence this year, together with the killing of an adolescent close to The Bean in Millennium Park. Lollapalooza tends to exacerbate downtown points, some dwelling and dealing close by mentioned.

“It makes our regulars uncomfortable,” mentioned Colon, who runs the barber store. “You’ve got the people that want to scam tourists. You got the people that want to rob tourists. You got the people that want to do harm to tourists.”

People have urinated on his barbershop’s glass door whereas he’s been reducing hair inside throughout previous Lollapaloozas, he mentioned. Last year, a struggle over pretend tickets ended with somebody getting tackled via his store’s window, Colon mentioned.

When mayhem breaks out, there have been occasions when police didn’t cross the road from their posts alongside the well-protected pageant gates and fences, he mentioned. And the current downtown points together with clashes between officers and agitated crowds have made him doubt whether or not authorities can management giant, rowdy teams.

Residents dwelling round Grant Park complained concerning the pageant’s noise and shared comparable security issues at a late-June public meeting hosted by Ald. Sophia King, 4th.

“There are elderly people in our building who can’t leave their apartments because the crowds downstairs are too crazy, they’re drunk,” Barbara Burgess mentioned on the meeting.

Rosalyn Howard’s issues are heightened this year as a result of of current close by violence, she advised King.

“Every year, we have an overflow of people that are urinating, defecating around our building. Throwing up, passing out, trying to come in the building. They go to the park across the street, pass out, and there are just droves of them,” Howard mentioned.

The liquor-selling Lakeview Market throughout from Grant Park sees big strains of prospects through the pageant, supervisor Harry Patel advised the Tribune. There’s a bump in theft too.

“With the good people, the bad people take a chance,” he mentioned.

Organizers for the pageant didn’t answer questions on security and solely responded with an emailed assertion.

“The safety and well-being of our Lollapalooza fans, artists and staff is paramount,” the assertion learn. “We work with the city of Chicago year-round to develop detailed safety plans and protocols.”

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Guidice mentioned the departure of individuals from the pageant is one other section of the occasion and its planning, Guidice mentioned, and residents and guests alike must be additional eyes and ears for one another and authorities.

“Continue to look out for each other,” Guidice mentioned. “This is an international event and Chicago is certainly very proud of it and want to make sure Chicagoans are looking out for each other and our visitors coming to our city.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may additionally pose a menace to the protection of friends. The pageant required attendees to be totally vaccinated in opposition to the virus or present unfavourable take a look at outcomes final year, however dropped the necessities this year.

The Chicago Department of Public Health urged attendees to put on masks in public indoor areas and to not attend if experiencing COVID-like signs.

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