Chicago street ambassadors expand efforts to enhance downtown safety

Chicago is witnessing a surge this summer in the presence of street ambassadors, working collaboratively with the city to assist visitors and deter downtown crime.

Although downtown ambassadors have been a familiar sight for the past decade, recent collaboration and grant funding provided by the city have facilitated program expansion. Previously, there were 15 ambassadors active during the summer months, but now the numbers are set to nearly double, with approximately 40 ambassadors working through October.

The ambassadors will be strategically positioned along prominent business corridors such as State Street, Wacker Drive, and Ida B. Wells. While unarmed, they have received comprehensive training in de-escalation techniques.


"They're doing business check-ins with businesses throughout the Loop with the expansion, and of course on State Street, and they're getting to know the business owners, the property owners, the employees, and able to recognize people and kind of anticipate needs of things. They are able to be intermediaries in potentially volatile situations," one ambassador said.

"They might let us know that you know, something might have happened there a couple of hours ago. So what we do, maybe we'll give them our cellphone numbers, tell them to contact us personally, and we'll come back and see if everything's ok periodically throughout the day," another added.

With the expanded program, the primary objective is to increase the visible presence of ambassadors downtown, fostering a sense of security and comfort for everyone.

The ambassadors will be diligently serving the downtown corridor seven days a week, creating a safer environment for residents, visitors, and businesses alike.