Congressman wants more protection for 'soft targets' in Chicago

Congressman Mike Quigley says the new metal detectors outside Wrigley Field are just a first step in protecting the area.

Quigley notes the terror attack on Paris last fall included three suicide bombers who targeted France's national stadium and a big soccer game. He thinks we can do more to protect so-called "soft" targets here.

“Look, I think just as the season begins, before the game they should close Addison, if only to protect pedestrians,” Quigley said.

The North Side Congressman sits on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, where he hears what some of the world's worst people are plotting. He noted 6 years ago, the FBI arrested a Lebanese man for plotting to plant a bomb near Wrigley Field. He'd like to see a larger security perimeter around it. The downside: it would worsen congestion in already busy parts of town. Some think it's unnecessary.

“We can accomplish the goal of having people's security without closing Clark and Addison. And my view about closing Clark & Addison: that's a swing and a miss,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The mayor and Quigley agree on this, though: The federal government should restore homeland security grant funding that it's cut drastically. An anti-terrorism grant enabled the CTA to install a network of security cameras. It had the beneficial side-effect of helping to cut crime on the system by 50 percent.

“We are still safe. But we are dealing with less money than we had 5-6 years ago for homeland security issues. That point has to change,” Quigley said.

“I think there are a lot of soft targets, almost innumerable soft targets. We're a soft target as we gather right here. And anyone can walk up to us. That is a reality of life in America in the 21st century,” said U.S Senator Dick Durbin.

Quigley said he's also pleased with pending security improvements at Chicago's two big airports, O'Hare and Midway, where he said lessons learned from the attacks on the Brussels airport are being applied.