As the Fourth of July weekend gets underway in Chicago, residents and tourists can expect to see a heavier-than-usual presence of law enforcement officials to help keep celebrations safe.
The Chicago Police Department will have an additional 1000 officers on the streets this weekend, and although there have been no credible threats of any violence, law enforcement officials are remaining vigilant as the festivities get underway.
That increase in police presence accompanies an announcement by the Trump Administration on Friday of a new strike force in the Chicago-area, which will seek to curb the flow of illegal weapons and violence into the city.
“Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help,” President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday morning.
As part of that federal help, 20 additional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents have been assigned to Chicago by the Justice Department.
“The Trump Administration will not let the bloodshed go on,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “(We) are sending 20 more permanent ATF agents to Chicago, reallocating federal prosecutors, and prioritizing prosecutions.”
At a press conference announcing the additional federal presence, which includes both manpower and specialized equipment that can track where a fired gun came from, officials said that they are looking to combat the problem from all angles.
“The level of violence continues at an unacceptable level, and it is a battle which can only be fought with all hands on deck,” acting U.S. Attorney Joel Levin said.
A new mobile unit provided by the ATF will be seen around the city over the weekend, and enforcement officials are hoping that their increased presence and technology will help to stem the tide on what is typically one of the most violent weekends of the year.