Business leaders, police discuss safety issues in Lakeview with murder of restaurant worker in mind

Marie C. Delgado

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A man was murdered in an alley in the busy commercial district barely a block from Wrigley Field over the weekend, and it remains on the minds of people in the area.

As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, business owners joined a meeting with police at the Town Hall (19th) District station Tuesday afternoon.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) was present at the meeting, which had been planned for some time to discuss safety heading into the summer season. Sunday’s murder has only heightened the concern.

Hermilo Beltran, 47, was a husband and a father to two girls – ages 16 and 9. He was shot three times at 10:15 p.m. Sunday as he reported to work at the Happy Camper Wrigleyville restaurant, 3458 N. Clark St.

The attack happened in the alley behind the business.

Beltran’s family said officers told them it was possibly a robbery gone bad. Beltran’s wallet was stolen, and his phone was left behind.

“He was working to put his little girls into a better life,” said Sam Sanchez, owner of Moe’s Cantina, at 3518 N. Clark St. near Beltran’s workplace. “If you work late nights, you’re always worried about how you’re going to go home.”

Business leaders in the area said worker safety has always been a concern, and some have spent thousands of dollars on private security.

Now, they are hoping city and state lawmakers spend time on overall crime – not just in the Lakeview area, but across the city.

“How do we get stolen vehicles from not being stolen anymore? How do we get guns off the streets from 15-year-olds?” said Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, “and this all has to do with working with legislators. And everyone in the community needs to get involved – because our business owners are doing everything they can. This meeting today was about how they operate.”

Martino wants more patrols beyond Cubs game days. But a thinning police force makes that hard.

“There’s a lot of retirement coming,” she said.

Martino said thousands of dollars are already being poured into private security. Owners also want to see more advanced camera technology around the city.

Sanchez is pushing for improvements to a safety bill at the state level – focused on harsher punishments for repeat offenders.

“If we don’t do that, then we hand the streets over to the criminals this summer,” he said.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements for Beltran – who worked two jobs to support his family – are currently under way. Happy Camper and its owners have already donated $20,000 to his loved ones.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Beltran’s wife and daughters.

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