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Police To Search City Beachgoers

By aaroncynic in News on Jun 4, 2010 8:40PM

Photo by swanksalot
Even though the city wants more liquor served and sold near the beach, Chicago police are stepping up security and targeting illegal drinking along the city’s lakefront. In the wake of increased violence at some city beaches, police have begun random searches of bags and coolers and installed more security cameras. Ald. Vi Daley (43rd Ward) told the Tribune the random bag searches wouldn’t be permanent, but was hopeful they would help curb incidents such as the large party broken up by police that Mayor Daley blamed on suburban youth and text messaging.

Illinois ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka raised some understandable concerns, telling the Tribune, “Generally a person who is on a public way, which clearly the pathways up and down the lakefront are, has an expectation of privacy in their purses and backpacks and briefcases.” The Chicago Police however, stated that officers have jurisdiction to search, as it is Chicago Park District property.

While most people have complied with the random searches (those who refuse are asked to leave their bags behind), we have to wonder how effective they will be. Unless Ald. Daley’s plan also includes random pat downs and breathalyzers, people will still try to find a way to sneak booze onto the beach. In addition, we shouldn’t be so flippant about what could potentially be a violation of the fourth amendment. Finally, if alcohol is the only fuel for the violence, why would the city approve more licenses to serve near the beach?