CHICAGO - Chicago officials are on high alert preparing for Memorial Day weekend. With dozens of events planned across the city, the Chicago Police Department is stepping up patrols.
CPD has canceled days off for uniformed officers between May 24 and May 31, and could be assigning 12-hour shifts.
"The planning for this weekend started months ago, and has ramped up exponentially in recent weeks," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Between the city's beaches being back open for business and more than 40 events scheduled over the holiday weekend, the unofficial start to summer in Chicago is sure to be a crowded one!
That's why you'll see a larger police presence in and around downtown. Stepped up security will be noticeable at the Sueños Music Festival in Grant Park, the Coldplay concert at Soldier Field, and the Crosstown Classic, among other events.
"In those areas we will have more bike patrols and foot patrols to enhance safety and security at all these major events," said Supt. David Brown, Chicago Police Department. "We’ll also continue to strengthen our public transit system. We’ve been conducting numerous roll calls as well as maintaining a high-uniform visibility across the CTA – both at platforms, on fixed posts, and riding the trains."
"Let me also be clear, these activations are not and will not be for those who believe they can wreak havoc," said Lightfoot.
A 10 p.m. curfew is in effect seven days a week for anyone 17 and under. Additionally, anyone under the age of 18 visiting Millennium Park after 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays must be with an adult who is 21 or older.
The change in curfew from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. came as a result of the fatal shooting of a teenager near The Bean – followed days later by a chaotic shooting at a McDonalds on the Near North Side that left two people dead.
"Parents, you must know where your children are, and more to the point you must accompany your children to enjoy these safe spaces," said Lightfoot. "We can’t just offload our children and hope for the best."
Instead of focusing only on what teens can't do, Mayor Lightfoot said she hopes to steer them toward things they can do safely. Lightfoot said this is a moment where the city must come together to keep children safe and engaged.
"I want to be clear: Our children are welcome everywhere, anywhere they want to be," Lightfoot said. "This is their city too, and we shouldn't be afraid of Black and Brown kids coming downtown."
Mayoral challenger Ald. Ray Lopez (15th Ward) tweeted that Lightfoot is shameless and more concerned about playing politics than meeting with the City Council to find solutions.
In 2021, Chicago recorded its least violent Memorial Day weekend in three years, with three people killed and 34 others wounded in shootings across the city.
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