A Chicago alderman and a coalition of community leaders announced Thursday that a private security firm had been hired as additional "eyes and ears" to assist police in curbing violence over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Ald. Stephanie Coleman, of the 16th Ward, said at a news conference that Kates Security had been hired to help monitor the Englewood area, with 50 armed and unarmed officers scheduled to be on the streets of the South Side neighborhood beginning Friday at 9 a.m.
The security officers will not intervene in situations, organizers of the effort said, but will have police commanders' cell phone numbers and will be in contact on what they see and hear. The effort was coordinated by Coleman, the "I'm Telling, Don't Shoot" organization and violence prevention groups as well as community and faith leaders.
"Let me first just start off by saying: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Here in the 16th Ward, we're not gonna be insane this weekend," Coleman said at a news conference Thursday announcing the effort.
"We're gonna do something that we've never done to get a result that we've never gotten. And that's going to be homicide-free on this Fourth of July weekend, with the help of Kates Security, IMAN, Target Area group, our faith based leaders, 7th District Englewood and our business men and women."
"We cannot police our way out of this. We are not gonna let this fall on 7th District Englewood's shoulders," Coleman continued. "So that's why we're coming together on one accord to monitor and help assist with 7th District Englewood."
The firm was hired in the wake of two violent weekends across the city that saw at least 170 people shot, a sharp increase over previous months.
Gun violence over the most recent weekend left 16 people dead, including two young children, and 50 others wounded, according to police. Father's Day Weekend saw at least 104 people shot, 14 fatally, over the course of the most violent weekend in Chicago in years.
On Monday, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said extra officers will hit the streets for the upcoming holiday weekend. An additional 1,200 Chicago police officers will be added beginning Thursday and through Sunday, Brown said, calling the department's holiday weekend strategy "a full court press."
"Our endgame is arrests," Brown said, noting officers will focus on street corners that he said fuel the city's open-air drug market and create "the pipeline for shootings and murders in Chicago."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was expected to detail the city's public safety plan and violence prevention efforts during a news conference Thursday afternoon.