Unarmed security guards hired to patrol on Chicago's Southwest Side after increase in crime

Starting this week, a ward on Chicago's Southwest Side will begin hiring private security to combat an increase in crime in the Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods.

It's something business owners asked for, since there aren't enough police officers to do the job. 

The money to hire the unarmed security guards in marked cars to patrol outside the businesses came from a $100,000 city grant.


"This is an extra set of eyes and ears, going up and down the alleys and in front of the businesses, identifying what could be suspicious behavior or criminal behavior, and then contacting the Chicago Police Department," said Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).

O'Shea said that robberies are up more than 20%, burglaries are up more than 30%, and theft is up more than 60% citywide. 

He said he's fired up about the lack of attention crime is getting, primarily when it targets the city's most vulnerable residents.

"When we talk about crime, it's not just the data, it's the perception and people are scared," O'Shea said.

O'Shea hopes the security will free up Chicago police to tackle more serious crime.  He calls CPD staff shortages "troubling" and wants to lighten the load for police.  

The private security is funded through the end of this year. 

The Bucktown, Lincoln Park and Hyde Park neighborhoods have also recently hired private security to deter crime.