CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Police will have a very visible presence throughout the city this weekend, and Friday night they held an outdoor roll call in Oz Park and Lincoln Park where violence is not a huge issue, but it's still a concern.
In the Back of the Yards neighborhood, police and members of the community gathered together in Davis Square Park as part of the mayor's Summer Faith and Action initiative. Police squared off against young people in a game of basketball, and the concern about shots fired had nothing to do with guns, but instead about whether the ball was going through the hoop or not. It was also a chance to talk a little and breakdown barriers.
“They start to realize we're family people ourselves and like I said part of the community, and so yea, I mean, nothing too heavy, not a lot of time to talk during the game though,”said 9th Disrict Commander Daniel Godsel, who confessed there was some trash talking.
“There is plenty of trash talk believe me, and that’s a lot of fun, and it is an indication that they started to get comfortable with us and our officers start to get comfortable with them,” Godsel said.
The hope it, events like this, which are being held throughout the city, can set a positive tone for the summer.
“We want all the kids in this community to come out and realize this is the way we’re gonna kick off our summer because this is the way we want to live our summer. Peace, harmony, put down the guns, it’s a message of anti-violence," said Craig Chico, President of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council.
Just one week ago, a woman coming out of a Starbucks a block from police headquarters was killed when she was struck by a bullet intended for someone else.
Some of Yvonne Nelson's long-time friends gathered at the corner, hoping that this holiday weekend, which has become notoriously violent in recent years, that others will be spared their pain.
“Nobody wants to die, nobody wants to die on the streets of Chicago, nobody wants to die on any street for that matter. It’s one thing if you grow old and you die of illnesses, but for your life to be taken away from you, it’s a whole other situation,” said Jacquenette Turner, a friend of Nelson’s since high school.
At the gathering in the Back of the Yards, Mayor Rahm Emanuel thanked police officers in the 9th District for joining others throughout the city to give up a day off this holiday weekend to make the streets safer. But he also said events like this can make a difference.
“When you do that there is no room for gang bangers to treat our streets as if they're their own personal shooting gallery, and they are not,” the Mayor said.