Chicago strengthens security for Lunar New Year celebrations in wake of California mass shooting

Security is top priority for Lunar New Year in Chinatown and the Argyle community on Chicago's North Side. 

The aldermen, community leaders, police, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a meeting last night to discuss safety and increased police presence for these large gatherings.

The Lunar New Year parades are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday on the North and South sides.

Restaurant owners and merchants welcome thousands to the community for dining, shopping and celebrating the New Year with traditions and firecrackers.


Both are family friendly events that help lift the spirits out of the winter slump but it could be a vulnerable time.

Ald. Nicole Lee (11th) said Chinatown has a good working relationship with police. There are two regular patrols assigned to Chinatown and more will be added for the parade. She said the community needs to report suspicious activity when they see it.

The enhanced security comes on the heels of Saturday's mass shooting in Monterey Park, California where a gunman fatally shot 10 people and wounded 10 others during a Lunar New Year celebration.

Will Chan, owner of Chiu Quon Bakery and Dim Sum, said the New Year is a time to be happy and grateful but there is sadness for the Monterry Park tragedy and for the rise in anti-Asian sentiments over the past few years. 

Chan hopes the public will visit Chinatown for food, drinks and the parade.

Chicago police said there is no known threat in regards to Lunar New Year activities.

The department issued the following statement:

"While there is no actionable intelligence in Chicago, we are strengthening security for Lunar New Year celebrations in the upcoming days by increasing our visibility and presence at these events. Our business liaison officers, and community policing officers will also remain in communication with the AAPI community throughout the Lunar New Year activities.

We will continue to keep the Monterey Park victims and their families in our thoughts as we mourn this tragedy together."