After one of the least deadly Memorial Day weekends in recent years, the city’s top cop on Tuesday praised his officers as well as community outreach workers for making the difference.
“They are out there until 2, 3 and 4 in the morning with our Chicago police officers, intervening in ways that Chicago police officers can’t to reduce the violence,” Supt. David Brown said during a briefing at police headquarters.
Three people were killed and 34 others suffered nonfatal gunshot wounds over the weekend.
While the overall tally was the same, this weekend was less deadly than in 2018 when seven were killed and 30 others wounded. Last year, 10 people were shot dead and 39 others wounded over the holiday weekend.
Most of the people shot this weekend — 21 of them — were attacked on the South Side, according to a Sun-Times analysis. The Grand Crossing and Deering police districts had the most shootings with five each, trailed by four shot in South Chicago.
Brown said it was far too early, based on the weekend numbers, to draw too many conclusions about the success of an anti-violence program Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled last week.
“We have a lot of work to do. No one is celebrating anything. Four people lost their lives over the weekend,” Brown said, counting a homicide that happened before noon Friday. The holiday weekend count begins at 6 p.m. Friday.
The police department also announced that it will, for now, end the 12-hour shifts put in place to handle the anticipated increase in violence. Day-off cancellations are also no longer in effect. Both changes went into effect Tuesday.
“Last summer, we went nearly 20 days with extended hours and canceled days off; that is not sustainable,” Brown said.
The department said it has also ended the downtown deployment of officers brought in after last year’s rioting and looting.
In discussing the relative calm during the Memorial Day weekend, police also highlighted the work of the Chicago Buildings Department, which shut down illegal parties and gatherings.
Lightfoot’s anti-violence strategy targets 15 of the city’s most violent police districts. City departments will assign staff to those districts on the South and West sides. Working with faith-based organizations and nonprofits, the city aims to beef up everything from summer work opportunities for youth to streetlight repair and graffiti removal programs.
“If we can make a meaningful difference in these areas, we will make a meaningful difference in the entirety of public safety across the whole city,” the mayor said Friday in announcing what she described as a “whole-of-government” approach.
Contributing: Sun-Times Wire