Chicago Police

City leaders focusing on jobs, activities for youth ahead of Memorial Day weekend, summer

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Mayor Brandon Johnson and numerous other public safety and city leaders revealed their public safety plan for the summer Friday ahead of a holiday weekend typically plagued by violence.

Leaders from numerous city agencies appeared at Friday's press conference, with the mayor placing an emphasis on youth investment as his administration approaches his second summer, one that includes the Democratic National Convention in August.

Johnson's plan will focus on providing activities and jobs for young people. The One Summer Chicago initiative will offer paid 20 hours of work for six weeks to individuals ranging in age from 14-24.

“Our young people deserve enrichment and meaningful summers and to be safe,” Brandee Knazzee, Commissioner of the Department of Family and Support Services said.

Still, the administration admits that historic trends of summer violence persist. According to the latest crime numbers from Chicago police, murders and sexual assaults are down while robberies, aggravated batteries and burglaries are on the increase.

To combat violence, Chicago will rely on both police officers as well as rapid response teams for the families of victims and survivors.

“When we launched the office of community safety, we knew we needed to do things differently, thinking more expansively about what the role is for every department in the city,” Garien Gatewood, the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety said.

The city is also planning more activities at Chicago Park District facilities, as 22 city beaches opened Friday with 44 park district schools slated to open June 17.

The city will also be closing down streets in some neighborhoods for organized play activities, with the full list will be available and updated on the My Chi, My Future App.

In addition to the festivals and summer of activities around the city, officials are also preparing for the Democratic National Convention later this summer and the protests that will lead up to it.

Officials confirmed there will be police overtime and days off canceled, but there will be a focus on officer wellness.

“We want them to have their time off so that they can decompress from the things they see on a daily basis,” CPD Supt. Larry Snelling said.

The police also plan to monitor social media for large scale teen gatherings, asking parents to know where their kids are going and who they are with.

Snelling issued a stern warning to anyone planning to do anything other than have a good time.

“If you are showing up to wreak havoc on the city, to infringe on other people’s rights and their safety, we are going to stop you and if that means we are going to have to arrest you, we are going to do that,” Snelling said.

Still, when pressed, Johnson would not answer questions about whether there will be a 10 p.m. curfew for young people downtown, as there has been in past years.

Johnson said discussions on the matter continue, even though the Memorial Day weekend is typically one of the summer’s most violent.

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