As NATO draws near, local businesses, residents and the governmental agencies are preparing for the worst. After the havoc it caused in Seattle, Chicagoans are worried about unruly behavior and massive demonstrations. The federal government is taking this event seriously and has been casing out neighborhoods in the city’s Gold Coast for the last two weeks.
Undercover law enforcement is everywhere that poses a threat to the residents and the local businesses. Many of the local storefronts are removing their outdoor furniture, afraid that it may get thrown through the window of their restaurant. Others are hiring their own additional security to protect their clients.
A building with a fancy glass sign on Dearborn and Madison built a wood frame around it to try to avoid it being destroyed by the protesters who are beginning to flock to our city. This conference is not something that is going to help business; rather it could cause millions of dollars in damage to our City and cost us lives.
In my opinion, as a Chicago resident with an office in downtown Chicago, across from City Hall, it was a very bad decision to host NATO, here. We have enough difficulty managing gang activity, let alone angry protestors from around the world. There’s nothing we can do to stop NATO from coming here. But, we can prepare for the possible destruction and protect ourselves.
The Chicago NATO Host Committee will use Notify Chicago as a resource for communicating useful summit related information on street closures, traffic disruptions and more. You may sign up for Notify Chicago through the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications website to receive message alerts via text message or voicemail related to extreme weather alerts, traffic disruptions, health alerts and major incidents. The free subscription can be completed in a matter of minutes by visiting http://www.notifychicago.org. This is a free City of Chicago service, though text message rates may apply based on cell phone provider.
Information and updates for the 2012 NATO Summit will be available online through the following websites:
• NATO Host Committee – http://www.chicagonato.org/
• Chicago Police Department: https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath
• ChicagoTransit Authority: http://www.TransitChicago.com.
• Chicago Metra http://www.metrarail.com
• Federal Aviation Administration flight restrictions – http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html
• Illinois Department of Transportation – www.travelmidwest.com
• Northern IndianaCommuter Transportation District – http://www.NICTD.com
• U.S.Secret Service – http://www.secretservice.gov
Make sure to pay extra attention to your surroundings this week through the NATO convention that ends on Monday. It may save your life. Put down your cell phone, hold onto your purse, and walk away from any activity that you sense is trouble.
Good luck and be safe!