Don’t expect to see numerous street closings in Lakeview or a phalanx of cops outside Wrigley Field for Game 1 of the Cubs’ National League divisional playoff game Friday night against the San Francisco Giants.
Instead, look for Addison and Clark streets to have regular parking restrictions and possibly be blocked off next to the ballpark for the safety of the sellout crowd.
Also look for a marginal boost in the presence of uniformed police officers.
The Chicago Police Department plans to increase the number of uniformed cops outside Wrigley Field from the typical complement of 40 officers to about 70 on Friday, a police source said.
Officers on so-called “saturation teams” will be moved from other parts of the city to the neighborhood surrounding the ballpark. As usual, you’ll see officers on horseback. And more plainclothes cops will be assigned to look for people selling counterfeit tickets and merchandise.
The police presence will be similar to that seen for a Cubs opening-day game or a Cubs-Sox crosstown matchup, sources said.
As usual, the department’s Crime Prevention and Information Center will be on alert for possible terrorist threats. It will be paying special attention to the presence of so-called “killer clowns,” people who in recent days have been dressing in menacing clown outfits and showing up at schools and other public places in the Chicago area and elsewhere.
That’s the plan as long as President Barack Obama, who’s scheduled to visit Chicago on Friday, stays away from Wrigley Field. But if the president makes a surprise appearance, security would be kicked into a higher gear, including the presence of the Secret Service.
If the Cubs make it to the next levels — the National League championship series and the World Series — fans can expect to see a major boost in the police presence around the ballpark, sources said.
“We’d treat it like any other championship: Bulls, Sox, Bears. We’ve seen these things in the city before. It’s just been a while,” one top police source said.
If history holds true, Friday’s game probably won’t generate a lot of arrests of rowdy fans. One neighborhood web site — Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown — has tracked Cubs-related arrests through the regular season’s 81 home games. The tally: 87 arrests, or an “arrest-to-fan ratio” of 1:37,154.
The Giants “spawned no arrests during their visits to Wrigley Field this year,” the website said.
The most common places where people were arrested were Wrigley Field at No. 1, followed by the Cubby Bear sports bar, according to Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown.
The web site said arrests were deemed “Cubs-related” when they were within a quarter mile of Wrigley Field and within three hours of any Cubs home game.