Alderman proposes private security patrols in Wicker Park, Bucktown

CHICAGO -- Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) wants to hire private security guards to help police patrol the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods. But the idea has been tabled for now.

Hopkins met with a group of Wicker Park and Bucktown business leaders today to discuss the idea and explain how it would be paid for.

The Wicker Park and Bucktown Special Service Area (SSA) operates like a business district in which businesses pay a special tax for services like snow removal, landscaping, sidewalk cleanup, graffiti removal and security.

Hopkins wants to use about 10 percent of the organization's $1 million yearly budget to pay for private security patrols.

The $100,000 expenditure would be part of next year's budget. If the businesses decided to go forward with it, public funds would be used to hire private security in the neighborhood.

Hopkins and the business group have agreed to study the issue in the coming months, get community reaction, and discuss it more before they pass their budget.  So it will be quite some time before private security could be patrolling public streets.

Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward) has said that he supports the plan.