University police to open interim office on 53rd Street

The University of Chicago Police Department will open up a small storefront office on 53rd Street on an interim basis in 2014, to support patrol officers in the neighborhood and provide space for community policing meetings.

The office, which will be located in an unoccupied space at 1411 E. 53rd St., is scheduled to open in March.

UCPD patrols a large part of Chicago’s mid-South Side, from 37th Street to 64th Street. As part of that responsibility, officers patrol Hyde Park’s main commercial district in cars, on foot and on scooters.

Marlon Lynch, associate vice president for safety and security and UChicago’s chief of police, said the office on 53rd Street will serve as one more tool the department can use to maximize its efforts. He said the office will be divided between desks for officers and space for small meetings.

“Hyde Park is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, but we are always looking for new ways to support our officers and enhance community engagement,” Lynch said. “With the significant change underway on 53rd Street, and larger numbers of people there in the day and in the evening, we wanted to be sure that our patrol officers working in the area make the most effective use of their time.

“The office on 53rd Street will also provide another point of contact between UCPD and the community—a place where we can hold small meetings on police matters, or where officers can meet with neighbors and business owners,” Lynch said.

The office will not act as a station or be staffed full time. Lynch said that the department will evaluate the office use and benefits to help determine the most appropriate long-term presence in the neighborhood.