Monday, August 5, 2019

Security Tight at Lollapalooza

Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune
As Saturday’s day three of Lollapalooza raged into the weekend, Chicago Police — plainclothes and uniformed — and EMS agents were kept busy.

Early evening, activity on Chicago Police scanner frequencies included reports of efforts to tear down the fence barrier on the Lake Shore Drive side of the festival. Other reports via social media included increased scalping, continued theft of cell phones and backpacks and allegedly lackadaisical police officers. Other festivalgoers posted on social media about seeing a man brutally beaten during rapper Lil Wayne’s set.

The rapper, who drew a headliner-sized crowd for his hour-long set on the T-Mobile stage, reportedly had heavy police presence around his stage. Other people at the event reported seeing Chicago Police rush the front of the stage at one point, while others reported the battery.

The Office of Emergency Management and Communication’s Melissa Stratton told The Chicago Tribune that while “specialized units” have been made aware of people attempting to scalp outside of the festival, they have been “actively working to mitigate the fraudulent sale of wristbands.”

“As far as the activity during the Lil Wayne set, it was reported that there was a battery in progress,” Stratton told the Tribune in an e-mailed statement. “Officers investigated and no victim or offender could be located.”

As fence-jumping continues to be a stressor on security and festival organizers, OEMC says that tighter measures are implemented each year — included a “multi-layer security plan” and “enhanced” law enforcement and security presence in and outside of Grant Park.

While the vast majority of those attempting to breach the perimeter fencing throughout the weekend have been unsuccessful, there were some cases on Saturday afternoon where individuals made unauthorized entry into the park, according to the OEMC.

“Our officers and event security responded to the incidents and resolved them immediately,” Stratton said of the Lake Shore Drive incident. “The fences have been re-established, no one was injured and our security adjustments have resulted in significant reductions in gate-crashing incidents during the festival in recent years.

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