By Natalie Martinez, NBC News 5, May 16, 2018
With the spring season in full swing, visitors to Chicago can expect to see more officers on bikes as new deployments will begin this weekend.
On Wednesday, police announced the increased patrols, which will deploy over 100 officers around the city.
City officials say that having officers on bikes helps to foster better communication between officers and the public.
The announcement comes after a string of violent robberies in the Gold Coast neighborhood and in other areas of downtown Chicago, including an incident on May 5 that saw a man attack another man on the Lake Shore Drive bike path.
According to police, a 21-year old man was walking on the path with his girlfriend when he was violently attacked in an assault that left him with a cracked skull. Police have still nto located the suspect.
The increased patrols are being welcomed by Chicago residents and tourists alike, who hope that it will help curb violence.
“At night sometimes it gets a little bit hectic around here,” Eric Millan, an employee of a retailer on the Magnificent Mile, said. “Especially around the train stations, (it’s) very bad.”
Gloria Martin told NBC 5 that she was held up by five assailants at gunpoint, and that the increased patrols will make her feel safer.
“I would personally feel more comfortable, whether there are foot patrols or bikes,” she said. “As long as they’re here in the area.”
In the coming weeks, the city of Chicago will release a full summer safety plan as police officers look to keep residents and tourists safe.