Gold Coast is safe despite incidents over weekend, Emanuel insists
BY ROSALIND ROSSI AND STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff ReporterS November 19, 2012 12:40PM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is greeted by Alexus Glinn 9, and Jazmaine Collins 9, before he announced 12 new Parent Engagement Centers, helping parents learn the digital and technology skills to support their children's learning, at the Authur Libby School 5300 S. Loomis. Monday, November 19, 2012. I Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: December 21, 2012 6:16AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday pointed to this weekend’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival ceremony as proof that the city’s upper-crust Gold Coast is safe — despite two violent incidents there within 24 hours.
“We had 1 million people and not a single incident” during the popular Saturday evening festival along Michigan Avenue, Emanuel told reporters.
The stabbing of a festival visitor inside a bathroom of a Michigan Avenue hotel occurred about an hour after the festival concluded.
“You’re interested in the Magnificent Mile. There are other things I’m looking at.... I think every day the city is making progress,” the mayor said.
Reporters Monday asked how Emanuel could reassure visitors that the Gold Coast would be safe during the Christmas shopping season given the two incidents within 24 hours there.
The mayor pointed to the swift arrest in the stabbing incident, said Chicago was in the midst of a record crime drop and insisted “it’s not a policing issue.”
Chicago Police said beefed-up, overtime holiday patrols were in place this weekend around the Magnificent Mile and were in “the right place at the right time” for the two high-profile crimes.
Police had already stepped up patrols for the holidays along downtown Michigan Avenue before the incidents, said police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton, who would not divulge the number of extra cops.
The department will continue the extra Michigan Avenue details during the holiday season, Stratton said Monday.
Members of those extra patrols responded to both the stabbing at a Michigan Avenue hotel rest room that left a suburban doctor badly wounded Saturday night and to a rip-off at the American Apparel store Sunday evening.
In the latter case, an officer shot at a car of thieves that was driving right at him, police said. No one was hurt, although the thieves got away.
“Ensuring the public safety of both our residents and visitors is our top priority. We will have — as we always do, a supplemental detail along Michigan Avenue for the holiday season,” Stratton said.
“In both incidents, our officers were in the right places at the right time, and responded immediately.”
Dr. Mir Jafar Shah, 67, of Oak Brook, was stabbed about 8 p.m. Saturday in a bathroom at The Grill on the Alley restaurant. located on the floor level of the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago Hotel, in the 900 block of North Michigan.
He was in town for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival when was attacked by Jimmy Harris, 56, of Chicago, police said.