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Bubble Zone: Democrat-Run Chicago Plans To Cordon Off DNC Convention From Rest Of City In Order To Portray ‘False Image’ Of Calm To Public

The city wants to hide the rampant crime while keeping potential protesters far away

Fox News

(Fox News) Chicago will soon be in the national spotlight when it hosts the Democratic National Convention in August, but primarily in the glitzed-up areas leaders want to be seen.

The city is facing a few complications: its stubborn problem with violence, the “wild card” of left-wing anti-Israel agitators, worn-down infrastructure, and the specter of the infamous clashes when Chicago hosted the DNC back in 1968.

Street and walkway upgrades are already underway. And according to a law enforcement source, the plan is to isolate the convention area from the rest of the city entirely, with access only for the media, law enforcement and DNC designees.

Chicago's United Center seen from above
This view shows United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, on March 10, 2021, in Chicago. The site is one of two primary locations for the 2024 Democratic National Convention. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“We are going to basically never see a protester or rioters, period,” the source said. “The convention sites are completely cordoned off. There will be nobody that is not authorized.”

Authorities are imposing strict measures on people who live and work inside the secure zone as well, including vehicle checks, FOX 32 Chicago reported Wednesday.

The city already has a 10 p.m. youth curfew for the summer, and some leaders are looking to move the start time to 8 p.m.

“They want to portray an image of calm, of peace, an orderly convention,” said Gene Roy, the Chicago Police Department’s former chief of detectives and a public safety consultant. “They obviously do not want any negative images, whether it’s protesters or confrontations with police, to get out. So, the people that are planning this are doing their best to avoid that.”

Police officers run in formation
Police officers run in formation as the Chicago Police Department offers a first look at officer training at McCormick Place on June 6, 2024, in preparation for the Democratic National Convention in August. The officers at the training session are among the 2,500 officers who will be on the front lines during the DNC. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The two sites chosen for the DNC, United Center and the McCormick Place convention center, will become highly secured bubbles, he told Fox News Digital. The city’s problems with violence and rowdy youths will be tucked away out of view.

“The DNC and all the political types, they are going to parachute in or helicopter in, and they’re not going to be affected by this,” he said. “Days ago, we had a terrible tragedy, a 7-year-old playing outside in front of his house shot with an AK-47. That’s terrible.”

He blamed progressive bail reforms, selective prosecutions and lenient punishments for the continued struggles with violence.

While murders have declined two years in a row after rising in 2020 and 2021, violent crime as a whole, led by soaring robberies, has climbed in the Windy City, police statistics show. Yearly car thefts nearly tripled between 2020 and 2023 from 9,910 to 29,287.

“You can’t just turn that climate around in six weeks,” Roy said.

Democratic National Convention
Signage is displayed for the Democratic National Convention at United Center in Chicago. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/File)

Still, crews are at work improving the roadways in and out of the convention areas and replacing rusted handrails as city leaders continue their preparations for the event, which could see protests from right-wing critics of the Democratic Party and also from far-left anti-Israel extremists who have been critical of the Biden administration in demonstrations across the country.

“About a month ago, they came out and replaced all the guard rails – what a coincidence,” Roy said. “It’s window dressing.”

Democrat leaders from the White House down to the mayor’s office are hoping to minimize disruptions and avoid bad optics.

With the Chicago Police Department’s roster down by an estimated 2,000 officers, they are leaning on police from the state and surrounding jurisdictions to step in through mutual aid so that the convention can be secured and that the city can meet its normal patrol obligations.

The McCormick Place convention center front entrance on a sunny day
The McCormick Place convention center, one of the sites of the 2024 Democratic National Convention, is seen in Chicago.(Jamie Kelter Davis/Bloomberg via Getty Images/File)

“There are 2 million people outside these two little bubbles, and they need 911, they need the police,” Roy said. “It’s no fault of the police or the police administration, it’s the fault of the city administration, which has systematically allowed police personnel to be depleted down through the years.”

Another specter is that of the city’s infamous Democratic National Convention in 1968.

That’s the year massive left-wing protests against the Vietnam War erupted outside the DNC and were met with a violent crackdown. This year, experts are concerned that anti-Israel agitators who have disrupted city roadways could use the convention to get more attention to their cause. They have already protested at the convention sites, months before it opens.

Protesters gather outside the site of the walk through for the DNC in Chicago
Anti-Israel demonstrators stand outside United Center, the venue for the upcoming Democratic National Convention, in Chicago on May 22, 2024. (REUTERS/Jim Vondruska)

“If they can embarrass Chicago, if they can embarrass the governor, the mayor, the president, they’re happy,” Roy said. “Mission achieved. They don’t have to score a touchdown with a two-point conversion. A field goal will do, and they’ll settle for a field goal.”

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