Nearly a month after the Starbucks near ETHS temporarily reduced its hours over safety concerns, the city is working to improve safety in the area.

“We were actually shocked by some of the information that we found and some of the video footage I saw of behavior, which is unacceptable,” Second Ward Council Member Krissie Harris said to more than 20 people at a virtual ward meeting Tuesday, March 28. “We’re in a bad place where we’re not treating people appropriately and with compassion.”

There were 11 batteries in the Dempster-Dodge corridor in recent weeks, EPD Sgt. Chelsea Brown said at the meeting.

“Some of those cases are still open right now and arrests have not yet been made, but the detectives and school resource officers are working on those cases,” she said.

Second Ward Council Member Krissie Harris Credit: Richard Cahan

The police department is establishing a three-person Community Relations Unit, in addition to increasing patrols at the site. The council member held a community meeting on Friday, March 10, with businesses and key stakeholders to develop a strategy focused on prevention and intervention.

A second meeting to discuss safety measures with businesses on the Dempster-Dodge plaza is set for the near future, Harris said Tuesday.

“We want to make sure that we’re working with the owners, not just the employees who can make decisions,” she said.

A barista at the Starbucks said March 29 that the coffee shop had reinstated its regular hours on March 20. She would not give her name and referred a reporter to the company’s corporate office for more information.

Also at the meeting, residents asked Harris about Evanston’s reparations program, the day after the City Council approved cash payments.

“There is some discussion on the legal end about what that looks like,” Harris said. “Because it is not a welfare-based program, there may be some stipulations that the city has no control over.”

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Manan Bhavnani

Prior to joining the RoundTable, Manan Bhavnani covered business and technology for the International Business Times, with a focus on mergers, earnings and governance. He is a double Medill graduate, with...

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  1. It would be helpful to know if Harris was shocked by behavior of customers or if the staff. Unclear what she is referring to. What kinds of things that she saw shocked her?

  2. Obviously the said program is not working. Now officers need to intervene. Good move before the guns come out. The young adults need to be held accountable for their actions.

  3. There was a time when the city’s Youth and Young Adult Division outreach staff routinely worked with ETHS and the managers at Starbucks, Burger King and McDonald’s regarding our Youth that would frequent these establishments after school. It didn’t require police involvement nor any City Council members. The established relationships by the YYA team with our young people helped sustain peace and accountability during those hours after school. Unfortunately, this article appears to me as an attempt to increase the profile of a candidate Mayor Biss supports. People who work with our children and have done so consistently know it didn’t take all that. But this is where we are today. Sad.