Brandon Johnson Touts Collaborative Public Safety Efforts Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago

With the unofficial start of summer hitting Chicago, Mayor Brandon Johnson and local officials said the city is prepared to keep residents and visitors safe over the Memorial Day weekend.

The newly inaugurated mayor was joined by several community leaders and city department leaders at 63rd Street Beach Thursday afternoon to outline Chicago’s public safety plan ahead of what has historically been a violent weekend.

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On top of public safety efforts, Johnson said the city will be working with community leaders and neighborhood organizations to ensure there are safe events for residents and guests throughout Chicago.

“However you want to spend your holiday weekend in Chicago, your safety is my top priority,” Johnson said. “I want to make sure that it is perfectly clear: that this is not just simply a strategy around policing. You have a collaboration of individuals who are committed to making sure that there is activity in Chicago.”

Nine people were killed and more than 40 other people were shot across Chicago during the three-day holiday weekend in 2022, according to Chicago Police Department figures. The previous year marked the fewest homicides (three) over a Memorial Day weekend in the city in a decade, but in 2020, nearly 50 people were shot and 10 people were killed during that same weekend.

As it has done in years past, the CPD will deploy additional officers this weekend across the city and the lakefront, particularly in high-traffic areas that will see community events like the Memorial Day Parade along State Street and the Sueños Festival in Grant Park.

Earlier this month, the CPD and Office of Emergency Management and Communications activated the city’s Summer Operations Center, which coordinates citywide resource deployments from police and other departments to help reduce violence across the city.

Interim Police Superintendent Fred Waller said all full-duty sworn officers will have one regular day off canceled this weekend — which he called a standard procedure — and will receive overtime pay.

“We want everyone to be safe and enjoy the city,” Waller said, “but we will not tolerate any engaging of criminal activity or disorderly conduct.”

Chicago Public Schools will be working with community-based organizations this weekend to host free community events including movie screenings, sports tournaments, arts and crafts activities and talent shows. Johnson also highlighted neighborhood events like cookouts and gatherings that will be occurring all over the city.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week also announced the launch of a Crisis Prevention and Response Unit. The governor said that unit will deploy at least 30 trained “peacekeepers” and street outreach partners in Chicago to assist with de-escalation, conflict resolution and crisis support efforts.

Thus far in 2022, homicides are down 7% year-to-date, while shootings are down 9% citywide.

Johnson on Thursday also announced a $2.5 million investment from the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities to support violence prevention and youth outreach across Chicago by funding the work of more than 250 grassroots organizations on the South and West sides.

“It’s important that we demonstrate the collective approach that everyone is counting on, that no one gets to sit on the sideline,” he said. “This is just the beginning. Not only is there room for everyone at the table, there’s plenty of work to be done.”

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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