City paying up to $1.2 million to private security firms to deter looting

Over 100 private security guards from Monterrey Security, AGB Investigative Services and Illinois Security Professionals will be dispatched to retail corridors across the city, with a particular focus on the South and West sides, city officials said.

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Passerbys peer through a destroyed window of a Family Dollar at 4247 W Madison St, in Chicago, Monday June 1, 2020.

Passerbys peer through a destroyed window of a Family Dollar at 4247 W Madison St, in Chicago, Monday June 1, 2020.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

After peaceful protests of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd were marred by widespread vandalism and looting, city officials announced they would pay up to $1.2 million to three private security firms to avoid a repeat of last weekend’s mayhem.

Over 100 private security guards from Monterrey Security, AGB Investigative Services and Illinois Security Professionals will be dispatched to retail corridors across the city — with a particular focus on the South and West sides, city officials said.

The private guards will not be armed and will not have police powers, but are meant to be “another set of eyes and ears to support efforts to deter looters,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said in a statement Saturday.

The security force has been instructed to notify Chicago police of illegal activity they see.

“Chicago’s small businesses and neighborhood commercial corridors are the heart of our communities, which is why we are working with three companies to supply more than 100 private security guards to protect the local retail shops, grocery stores and pharmacies that community members rely on every single day,” the mayor’s office said.

While the city has allocated up to $1.2 million for the security services, the actual cost won’t be known until the end of the weekend, the mayor’s office said.

Additionally, Chicago police patrols will be “strategically positioned” in popular shopping areas throughout the city, especially on the South and West sides, the mayor’s office said.

Though recent protests across the Chicago area have been largely peaceful, the added manpower signals the city’s fears that future protests may come to mirror the events that accompanied and followed a May 30 protest in the Loop, which devolved into violence, theft and vandalism that left swaths of the city ransacked, including the city’s downtown and South and West sides.

Monterrey Security, founded by the brother of ex-Chicago Ald. Danny Solis, who resigned last year under a cloud of corruption, most recently found themselves at the center of an FBI investigation in the village of Rosemont, when federal investigators questioned the legitimacy of a contract the northwest suburb handed to the clout-heavy company.

The private firm was sued by the Chicago Bears in 2018 for failing to pay for a skybox the company licensed at the stadium.

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