Seeking to stem a tide of violence that’s traditionally accompanied long holiday weekends over the summer in Chicago, Supt. David Brown on Friday announced a number of preventive measures.
Brown canceled days off for his officers and extended their shifts to 12 hours in order to put about 8,000 officers on the street for an “all-hands-on-deck approach,” he said at a news conference Friday held on the South Side.
“I encourage everyone, everyone, to relax this weekend and have a comfortable, safe Labor Day,” Brown said. “Meanwhile, the Chicago PD will be protecting you while you enjoy the holiday weekend.”
Brown said there will be a “very, very strong deployment” of officers around retail corridors throughout the city and city vehicles will be on standby to create barriers to protect against the sort of caravans of looters that caused destruction on the Magnificent Mile in the early-morning hours of Aug. 10.
“Right now we don’t have any intelligence that leads us to believe there’s any planned looting or any type of civil unrest being planned,” Brown said.
“We’re also monitoring open-source social media for any signs of anyone trying to encourage people to loot. It’s like reading the paper, social media is not an invasive thing, there’s no expectation of privacy on open-source media. It’s no different than reading the paper or watching the news to see if there are any clues of anyone trying to organize any kind of looting throughout our city anywhere,” he said.
He said the city does not plan to raise the bridges downtown this weekend, a measure deployed last month to prevent looting.
Though shootings were down slightly during August, the number of murders in Chicago is up about 50% this year compared to last year.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Chicago had seen 505 murders through Aug. 30, compared with 333 murders during the same period in 2019, according to CPD statistics.
The total number of murders thus far in 2020 is nearly the same as all of last year.
Over Labor Day weekend in 2019, 43 people were shot, eight fatally.