Chicago streets will have an extra 1,300 cops on patrol each day of the Memorial Day weekend, as the Chicago Police Department beefs up normal police presence with special units, traffic enforcement and more officers in the city’s parks and beaches, officials said Friday.
The stepped-up patrols are an increase even from the number of officers deployed last year, when CPD put an extra 880 officers each day of the long weekend only to see six people killed and 63 shot from Friday evening through early Tuesday. As with most holidays in the summer months, CPD officials solicited volunteers to cover extra shifts over the weekend and canceled time off to ramp up staffing.
“CPD will not tolerate violent behavior, and if you choose to put others in danger by your actions, you will feel the full weight of CPD and our partners in law enforcement,” Supt. Eddie Johnson said, reading from a prepared address to reports at police headquarters Friday.
Johnson was on hand for a press conference with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and federal prosecutors to announce state and federal charges against nearly 50 members of the Gangster Two-Six Nation street gang. Johnson hinted more raids were to come over the three-day weekend.
“As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, (police are) sending a clear message to those driving violence: We will come at you with everything that we have to make our communities safe,” Johnson said.
The city in recent months has seen modest declines in violence from the bloody pace of shootings in 2016, when the city recorded more than 760 murders. Last year, the six murders over Memorial Day weekend marked a decline from the 12 homicides during the same span in 2015, which was one of the bloodiest summers in nearly two decades.
May 2016 ended with 66 murders, a 40-percent increase over the same month the year before. So far this May, there have been more than 40 murders. There have been 231 murders since Jan. 1.