Only one person has been issued a ticket in the heftiest class of fines for drinking at the Chicago Pride Parade since city officials set the citation for boozing along a parade route at $500 to $1,000.
But parade revelers in other neighborhoods haven’t been as lucky. In one neighborhood on the West Side, more than 90 drinking tickets of at least $500 have been issued in the last 6 years.
In 2013, city lawmakers passed an ordinance that set the fine for drinking within 800 feet of a parade route at $500 to $1,000. The steep fine was meant to reign in those who would use the festivities as an opportunity to cause trouble.
Since then, Chicago police officers have issued more than 850 such tickets — but only one was issued during the Pride Parade, according to an analysis of citations from the Chicago Police Department.
That ticket came in 3200 north block of Clark Street in 2015.
Chicago Police have instead issued the cheaper “drinking on a public way” ticket in Lakeview during the Pride Parade. Officers have issued nearly 200 of those cheaper tickets — which carry a fine of $100 to $500 — during the Pride Parade since 2013.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement, “We certainly are not naive to the fact that individuals consume alcoholic beverages and our officers are there to ensure overall public safety.
“When alcohol becomes a factor in irresponsible behavior, we use every tool at our disposal to hold people accountable. That said, we also exercise discretion and the best judgment to ensure people have a safe and enjoyable experience without becoming a safety risk to themselves or others.”
Most of Chicago’s parades are downtown, but most of the expensive tickets for drinking along a parade route were issued on the South and West Sides — specifically the Englewood and Austin neighborhoods.
In Austin, 91 parade tickets of at least $500 have been issued since the ordinance passed. Many of the parade permits were issued to churches and schools, according to the Department of Transportation data.
None of the expensive tickets were issued during the South Side Irish Parade, a notoriously alcohol-fueled affair that aldermen have tried to make more family friendly several times in the past 20 years.
The Pride Parade has brought more than 1 million people to the Lakeview neighborhood in recent years, and organizers expect the same this Sunday.
Elliott Ramos is the Data Editor for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @ChicagoEl.
How we did this
Citation data for administrative violations was obtained via a FOIA request to the Chicago Police Department. That data can be found here on the WBEZ data portal.