NATO Summit Arlington Heights/Chicago Community Alert, Security, Traffic Information, Airspace Restrictions


Only weeks away, the 2012 Chicago summit is a meeting of the heads of state and heads of government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to be held in Chicago, United States, on May 20-21, 2012. NATO is intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on April 4, 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defense with member states agreeing to mutual defense of a member state under attack by any external threat.

NATO organizes regular summits for leaders of their members states and partnerships. The 2012 Chicago NATO Summit was originally scheduled to coincide with the 2012 G8 summit, but the G8 summit was later rescheduled to be held at Camp David with the White House citing security issues as the reason for the change.

Thousands of visitors and at least 60 heads of state and government are meeting to discuss security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. The NATO Summit venue is at McCormick Place.

While the NATO website is touting and anticipating embracing the cultural diversity of Chicago with it’s multi-cultural population of over 2.6 million people and its melting pot of its streets, architecture, music and cuisine; the City of Chicago and federal officials are bracing for possible protests, riots, and civil disorder. Protesters are known to oppose violence associated with the military and the funds that go toward military expenditures instead of helping humanity issues around the world.

It’s anyone’s guess whether the protests are overhyped or whether serious riots with property damage, injuries and civil disorder will result. A large security zone around McCormick Place will be blocked from public access. The Museum Campus (Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium) will also be blocked from public access around the time of the summit.

Several roadways will also be blocked around the time of the NATO Summit:

Interstate 55 (I-55) will be closed between Interstate 90/94 and Lake Shore Drive.

Lake Shore Drive will be closed from Balbo Avenue to 39th Street starting May 19, 2012 at midnight.

Columbus Drive and Roosevelt Road near the museum campus, and several streets near McCormick Place on the near South Side will be closed.

Motorcade delays will also affect traffic between O’Hare International Airport along the Interstate 90 and Interstate 90/94 (I-90 and I-90/94).

Motorcade delays near Ohio and Ontario street from I-90/94 to Fairbanks Court/Columbus Drive.

Motorcade delays from I-94 to Roosevelt Road, 18th Street and Canalport Avenue (Dan Ryan Expressway or I-90/94 outbound).

Restricted Airspace:
Almost all of Cook County (including Arlington Heights), DuPage County and northern Will County is under a restricted area of about 30 nautical miles radius from the NATO Summit. The outer ring is limited to aircraft arriving or landing at local airfields. The aircraft must also be in constant communication with air traffic control. AN INNTER CORE restricted airspace restricts flights to law enforcement, air ambulance, military, and regularly scheduled commercial passenger and cargo flights.

The suburbs are also bracing for any possible incidents. In the past, major fires and other incidents, such as train derailments or multi-casualty heat illnesses during a Chicago Marathon have brought firefighter/paramedics to the city as part of a mutual aid agreement. Security awareness is also heightened in the suburbs for a variety of reasons related to the NATO Summit.

To be prepared, the Arlington Heights Police Department released the following flyer to its citizens on Monday, May 7, 2012. Keep an eye out on The Cardinal, other Chicago media, and your city’s official website to stay informed of any updates.

Crime Awareness Flyer from Arlington Heights Police Department and the Coalition of North Suburban Law Enforcement Agencies

The NATO Summit is planned for the City of Chicago from May 19-21, 2012. It is unknown at this time the impact that the Summit will have in our city. Please be assured that the Police and Fire Departments are well aware of the coming event and have been involved in regional planning for the last 7 months. There is no information suggesting that significant incidents will occur in our city during the Summit. Our Public Safety officials are planning to respond to all contingencies and continue to ensure that our community receives the same level of expected security and protective services.

In addition to anticipated delays in commuting time, transportation detours, and congestion at several Summit meeting sites, it is probable that hotels and other residential areas in and around Chicago will experience full occupancy. This means that surrounding communities may be used by Summit participants and protestors for hotel and dining needs. We are also expecting representatives of the international media.

Given the size of the event, we are in need of your help! You are out in the community and have the opportunity to make observations of potential problems or suspicious activity. If you come upon anything of a suspicious nature you are encouraged to notify 9-1-1. Basic indicators that extremist groups may be active in a city or town is the presence of graffiti or posted flyers.

Although peaceful protest is a valued right and protected by the First Amendment, there may be those that advocate “direct actions” or seek to incite criminal activity and violence. It is imperative that the Police Department be made aware of any suspicious activities and if certain symbolism is found in your community.

Other things to be mindful of AND report include:
• Vacant/Foreclosed properties and buildings that were once vacant and now appear occupied
• Person(s) taking pictures of public buildings, transportation facilities, churches or structures, etc.
• Continuous questions regarding your business place, hours of operations, and security measures
• Squatting or people camping in parks, forest preserves or on other public properties, etc.
• Anti-Government/Anti-Military/Anarchist flyers
• Suspicious and/or abandoned packages
• Abandoned/unusual vehicles

The above information is not intended to associate constitutionally protected activities with criminality or infer that any such activity represents a threat to public safety. However, based upon accumulated intelligence and historical observations, it is possible that select individuals or groups may choose to participate in violent actions or incendiary events during the NATO Summit. The information and circumstances described in this bulletin are provided for the limited purposes of crime reporting, prevention and awareness.


See also …
Chicago NATO Summit 2012 (official website) —

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