Team aims to add to security, safety around ballpark
By John Byrne
The Cubs are sending the city $1 million to pay for dozens of security cameras near Wrigley Field, Chicago aldermen
The City Council Budget Committee approved the grant from the team to the city’s Office of Emergency Management
and Communications, but it will be months before the cameras are up and running.
Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, said the city and the team will work on the placement of the cameras, which cost around
$30,000 each to buy and install — and will become part of the OEMC’s citywide network of security cameras.
A day after a suicide bombing that killed at least 22 people and injured scores more at a concert in Manchester, England,
Budget Committee Chairman Ald. Carrie Austin said the need for the added security in high-profile public areas is self-evident.
“We’re a world-class city, so they would want to bomb any part of Chicago,” she said, listing off other sports arenas around town.
“I wouldn’t single out Wrigley.”
Tunney said the majority of the 30 or so additional cameras will be “in the nexus of Wrigley Field” close to the park.
But some will likely be installed as far west as the Kennedy Expressway and as far east as Lake Shore Drive,
which thousands of fans use to drive to and from each game. They will be put mostly on arterial streets, as far north as
Montrose Avenue and as far south as Belmont Avenue, he said.
Some residential streets could get cameras, too, the alderman said, but only with the approval of residents of the streets.
The new cameras won’t be installed for four to six months,Tunney said.
“This was the first step in getting these new cameras in place, and it’s just another step in the increased
attention to the area around the park,” he said. “It’s a new day, obviously. There has been a greater security presence around
Wrigley Field than I’ve seen in my 15 years as alderman. The team is financing this part of it as part of their commitment
to making Wrigleyville a safer place, and I support it.”
OEMC spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said the additional cameras on city light poles “will serve to enhance the safety and
security of the venue and allow OEMC to monitor the high traffic areas in communities adjacent to the ballpark.”
“The expansion will increase OEMC’s ability to view additional areas of the city during an emergency incident,”
Stratton said in an email.
In a statement about the need for the new cameras to “strengthen safety and security around the ballpark,”
Cubs spokesman Julian Green cited “recent international attacks” in making the case that the additional security
measures also should include the closing of the streets near Wrigley.
“This is not about protecting fans coming to a baseball game. This is about protecting a neighborhood with residents
and families less than 100 feet away from the ballpark,” Green said in an email.
Tunney said he remains opposed to closing Clark and Addison streets near the ballpark during events there.
“This (camera purchase) has nothing to do with that,” he said. “There are too many residents and businesses in the area.
Those streets are too important for people trying to get around the neighborhood.”
The proposal for the cameras will head to the full City Council on Wednesday.