CHICAGO - A pressing issue for the Chicago Police Department and its incoming leadership is the downtown teen takeovers, as another gathering has been advertised on social media for this weekend.
But churches and community groups are now stepping up, in partnership with police, to curb the youth rioting.
Community organizations are now doing their part to help stop the teen takeovers that happened last weekend in Chicago.
A new idea on the table is an Amber Alert-like system to let parents know these gatherings are happening.
Video from last Saturday downtown shows large crowds of young people causing mayhem. There were injuries, two people were shot, and property was damaged.
Now, the group "I’m Telling, Don't Shoot" is partnering with Chicago police to give parents a heads-up that something might be happening.
Early Walker compares the initiative to the Amber Alert system.
"Everybody here probably has a phone in their pocket right now, so if you get a text right now, you are going to get the text and you are gonna say, ‘okay let me check, let me call my kids to make sure they are not there’ and maybe even make sure if any of their friends might have been there but now they can call their friends and say, ‘hey such and such might be down here, you might want to check it out.’ It’s trying to bring the community together to work together," Walker said.
If you’re interested, text "Chicago Kids" to 21000. Walker says you will get a welcome text letting you know you're signed up, and next time there is information that needs to be shared, you will receive a text.
If you're a parent or guardian and have information on a large gathering, you can send information to police by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, Chicago churches are coming together on Saturday – when another large teen gathering is planned – to walk Michigan Avenue. Their goal is to round up 500 men to send a message to the youth.
"Black men owe it to our younger counterparts to say this is not the way, and that we grew up in some of the same conditions, oftentimes, but again, for whatever reason, by the grace of God, we will be given alternatives and when we listened, we found out that our worth was not in violence and negative things," said Bishop Horace Smith, Apostolic Faith Church.