CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Chicago police officials on Thursday announced a public safety and engagement plan for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
The new mayor took a different approach to announcing his security plan, devoting the first few minutes of his press conference not to police strategy but to announcing a doubling of investments from the business and philanthropic communities to help fund summer youth programs.
“I’m talking about $3.5 million in grants to more than 250 community organizations to fund safe programming and activities for young people during the summer months, starting with Memorial Day,” Johnson said.
Johnson said a $2.5 million investment from the eighth annual Chicago Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities Fund is part of the plan.
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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The funding will also support youth programming efforts during the summer and fall.
“I would encourage the entire private sector to participate and support these programs as well,” said Martin Cabrera, CEO of Cabrera Capital. “It’s something that’s necessary, but it’s something that really works.”
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Chicago police will be in all areas of the city this weekend, including downtown, the lakefront, the CTA and neighborhoods, with a special focus on large gatherings.
One regular day off will be canceled for all officers, and the head of the weekend authorities targeted outdoor drug markets and conducted warrant missions.
Dozens of “peacekeepers” will also hit neighboring streets to de-escalate situations.
“They’re communicating with us in some way, but we’re not asking them to tell us everything they’re doing,” said Interim CPD Supt. Fred Waller. “But we see the areas where the violence is not happening, those are the areas in which they are.”
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.
North Side Alderman Brian Hopkins, who chairs the city council’s public safety committee, said he is encouraged by the plan, the large investments in youth programs and the police deployment strategy.
“We have to manage expectations, and we have to prepare ourselves if we still have some incidents over the weekend, that doesn’t mean this is a failure. It just means it needs more time to come together,” said Hopkins.
Starting Monday, Metra is expanding its Family Fare program to weekdays through Labor Day. The Family Fares program allows up to three children, ages 11 and under, to ride for free with a fare-paying adult.
Metra also offers a $7 unlimited ride pass on Mondays.
This is a developing story; check back with ABC7 Chicago for updates.
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