CHICAGO (WLS) — It’s almost summertime in Chicago, a time for warmer weather, sunshine, lakeside activities and crowds on the beach.
That has historically meant violence and chaos, but there’s a new summer plan in place from new mayor Brandon Johnson that includes not only police and city government, but also community groups that will step up to help keep the city safe.
That also includes a $2.5 million investment that will support violence prevention and youth efforts across the city.
“We all want safety for our families and our loved ones and our neighbors,” resident Jim Weinstein said.
The public-private partnership will support violence prevention and youth efforts across the city by funding the work of 253 grassroots organizations working across 24 communities on the South and West sides, starting with engaging youth in activities over Memorial Day weekend and in between. . between the end of the school year and the start of Chicago Park District programming, city officials said.
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“We want everyone to be safe and enjoy the city, but we will not tolerate any engagement in criminal activity or disorderly conduct,” Interim CPD Chief Fred Waller.
Keeping safety at the forefront also extends to the beaches, where staff are already preparing for what’s to come.
“We’re going to add 30 beach ambassadors that they’re going to be spread across the five busiest beaches here on the lake and those ambassadors are going to be trained with the same certifications as our lifeguards and they’re going to add security to help those lifeguards that are going to be here on the lake,” said Samuel Jorden, Park District beach and pool managers.
Those ambassadors should start near the end of June.
The Chicago Police Department is also preparing for the long holiday weekend by canceling one day off for officers and having many focuses on the lakefront, and other events happening downtown including the Memorial Day Parade and the Navy Pier fireworks.
And 30 new peacekeepers and street activism partners announced by Gov. JB Pritzker will be on hand throughout the city to defuse conflicts.
“I like the community engagement because I think that’s the most reliable source of people who can relate to the people we’re talking to,” Weinstein said. “If you’re from my community, we can discuss. If you’re from somewhere else, you don’t understand my situation so I like the community approach.”
City officials are still asking residents and visitors to remain alert and aware of your surroundings.
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications is asking residents and visitors to be aware of their surroundings, with many festivals, concerts and sporting events planned and the opening of the city’s beaches. The big events planned include the Memorial Day parade, Soldier Field 10-mile and 10K run, and Suenos Music Festival.
Those in the city are encouraged to use public transport, as traffic is expected to increase.
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