Police, city leaders explore new options to prevent pop-up parties

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Neighbors tell us pop-up parties in Springfield have resulted in shootings, fireworks, drag racing, and drunk drivers.

Police, city leaders, and businesses are now coming together to find a solution.

Lincoln Park resident Bill Baskett describes these events as “chaos” and “mayhem.”

“We are concerned,” Baskett said.

Many of the pop-up parties have been near the Lincoln Park Neighborhood at the Qik-N-EZ on Fifth Street and North Grand Avenue.

This past weekend, police were called to the gas station and convenience store after reports of dozens of cars and loud music.

Kevin Smith lives across the street and says he was asleep when everything unfolded.

He was quickly awakened when he heard what he says sounded like a cannon.

“We walk out on the porch, here we’ve got a party surrounding us,” Smith said.

Smith says he fears for his grandchildren and all the children in the neighborhood.

After a separate pop-up party last year, Baskett says his neighbor woke up to two bullets in her porch after attendees allegedly drove around the neighborhood.

But this isn’t a new problem.

Ward 5 Alderwoman Lakeisha Purchase tells us there have been four or five pop-up parties at this location.

Assistant Chief Ken Scarlette with the Springfield Police Department says other places around town have also been popular party spots.

From the beginning of the pandemic to now, “We’ve seen an increase in the number of parties,” Scarlette said.

Scarlette says their safety plan includes bringing in extra officers, even if it means paying overtime or enlisting the help of other departments.

He says if they know about a party in advance, they can assign resources accordingly.

But, much of the time, police find these parties while they patrol, meaning they have to call in backup.

Scarlette says Springfield has no issue calling in resources from the county or nearby towns to help them if the situation gets too large.

He says officer safety is a big priority because the situations often include a dozen officers compared to hundreds of partygoers, sometimes intoxicated and operating vehicles.

Police and city leaders are also working with businesses to slow down these parties.

Scarlette says police have been in communication with the North Grand Qik-N-EZ about how to best disperse parties there.

“We’ve also worked with other businesses specifically in that area to provide security, or they would provide security for their own lots,” Scarlette says.

hat includes things like barricades, more lighting, and cameras.

Scarlette says there is a “multi-jurisdictional operation plan” to deal with the parties, but Springfield Police aren’t releasing some of the specifics.

Purchase says the Qik-N-EZ will alter their hours to deter parties as well.

She confirmed that the convenience will be shutting down in the overnight hours this weekend to protect their employees.

A representative from Chronister Oil Co., Qik-N-EZ’s parent company, will also attend the Ward 5 Town Hall next week.

But neighbors say they won’t feel safe until the parties stop for good.

“We cannot let this lawlessness and mayhem continue,” Baskett said. “These people need to be made aware of who is actually in charge.”

Officials say the organization of these parties happens on platforms like Snapchat, where details are only available temporarily.

The goal now is to be proactive and shut down pop up parties as soon as possible.

Some aldermen have also suggested a pop up party task force to help solve this problem.

Police say the planning and disbursement of the parties are costing the city thousands of dollars.

Source: https://newschannel20.com/news/local/police-city-leaders-explore-new-options-to-prevent-pop-up-parties

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