Chicago pastor says youth are creating trouble because they don't have other options
CHICAGO - Just a few months into the year and Chicago has already seen its most violent weekend of 2022.
This weekend, we saw a brief warmup in temperatures and a spike in crimes.
In the most violent weekend this year, the city saw 44 people shot — 7 of them fatally.
Another burst in crime happened downtown at Millennium Park, where another group of mostly youth met up downtown and ended up creating chaos.
Video from Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Michigan Avenue and Millennium shows the crowds acting out and eventually 13 arrests were made.
Ten of those were juveniles, charged with crimes like disorderly conduct, mob action and curfew violations.
One handgun and a replica firearm were recovered. The Chicago Police Department anticipated the large gathering and had sufficient resources deployed to manage the crowd and ensure public safety.
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Downtown Alderman Brian Hopkins says he knew it was only a matter of time and temperature before the rowdy young crowds would swarm downtown again.
"A lot of the crimes that went on were allowed to continue simply because we didn’t have enough police officers to arrest them even if we wanted to," said Alderman Hopkins of the 2nd Ward, who adds the city does have a plan but gives the city a D- for execution.
"Unfortunately, the resources necessary to implement the plan were not available, so a plan without the resources isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on," Hopkins said.
Pastor Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church says teens are heading downtown because of a lack of other options.
"It's very sad that our children are participating in these activities. So number one we have to be better parents. Number 2 we have to be better community leaders and make sure that we call our children to task on the responsibilities. And we have to all continue to do the work to make sure these type of events don't continue throughout the summer, because if that is so, it's only going to continue to be a black eye on our city," Brooks said.
Brooks is trying to raise millions of dollars to help give youth something to do by creating a new youth center. Centers like the one he hopes to break ground on this summer, he says, will become a model for other neighborhoods to stop kids from gathering on the streets and occupy their time with activities, sports or classes.
Brooks has been on the rooftop for more than 130 days and will stay there until he’s garnered another $23.5 million.