Chicago is bracing for Memorial Day chaos by deploying ‘peacekeepers’ across the city – after 52 people were shot and nine killed over the holiday last year.
Historically, Memorial Day weekend has been marked by an increase in violent incidents in Chicago, making it one of the most challenging periods for public safety in the city.
Governor JB Pritzker announced on Thursday the establishment of the Citywide Crisis Prevention & Response unit, which will collaborate with community-based organizations to deploy over 30 trained neighborhood ‘peacekeepers.’
It was described as a highly mobile team that is specifically designed to prevent violence and address conflict and crises in the City of Chicago by providing essential assistance in de-escalation, conflict resolution, and crisis support across the Windy City.
This coordinated response effort will serve as a crucial test for newly inaugurated Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who assumed office this month with a commitment to addressing public safety through ‘intelligent and holistic approaches’ rather than relying solely on toughness.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced on Thursday the establishment of the Citywide Crisis Prevention & Response unit
This week, Chicago experienced an increase in nearly all areas of crime as compared to the same time last year
Chicago is bracing for Memorial Day chaos by deploying ‘peacekeepers’ across the city
Governor Pritzker emphasized the paramount importance of ensuring community safety.
‘The most important work we do is keeping our communities safe,’ Pritzker said. ‘This is another important step towards addressing violence and conflict through research-based, community-focused approaches.’
‘Our primary focus lies in safeguarding our neighborhoods. This initiative represents a significant stride towards tackling violence and resolving conflicts by implementing research-based strategies and placing a strong emphasis on community engagement,’ he said.
Inspired by the success of two preexisting organizations within the city, Gov. JB Pritzker has implemented a program that mirrors their efforts.
The Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities, a coalition of private and public organizations, pledged $2.5 million to fund 253 grassroots groups working across 24 communities in the South and West sides, the areas of Chicago that have struggled economically, Johnson said in a press conference.
Crime incidents in Chicago soared by 41 percent last year from 2021, and another 42 percent so far in 2023. A mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, on the Fourth of July last year left seven people dead and more than 40 injured.
‘My administration’s top priority is building a city where every single resident feels safe, and in order to do that, we need everyone at the table,’ Johnson said.
The new unit has focused on mobility to enable the ‘peacekeepers’ to respond to various incidents and carry out duties in different areas.
This expanded training equips violence prevention coordinators to operate beyond their familiar neighborhoods to address other areas potential conflict or crisis, such as recent large teen gatherings in downtown Chicago or mass casualty events, according to the press release.
This flexibility ensures an agile and efficient approach to conflict and crisis management. IDHS has coordinated closely with providers to ensure that the CPRU operational Memorial Day Weekend and will expand throughout the summer, historically a time of increased violence in Chicago.
52 people were shot and nine killed in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend in 2022
Chicago experienced it’s most bloody Memorial Day weekend in five years last year
More than 150 people killed in total across the United States over Memorial Day Weekend last in 2022
Last year, Chicago experienced it’s most violent Memorial Day weekend in five years, with over 50 people shot.
Among the 52 people shot, nine were killed, including three juvenile victims. The violence in 2022 was despite a stay at home order meant to keep people inside during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown, said it was ‘unacceptable level of violence. ‘The violence throughout the city on Memorial Day weekend was nothing short of alarming,’ he said last year.
This week, Chicago experienced an increase in nearly all areas of crime as compared to the same time last year.
Homicide, robbery and aggravated battery are up 9 percent, burglary is up 18 percent, theft is up 11 percent and motor vehicle theft is up a whopping 158 percent.
Violence seems to already be in the air in Chicago. On Monday, a massive brawl broke out in baggage claim at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
Governor JB Pritzker announced the establishment of the Citywide Crisis Prevention & Response unit’
This will serve as a test for newly inaugurated Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson who has committed to addressing crime through intelligent, holistic approaches
The dispute is said to have happened while deplaning and then spilled into the lower levels of Terminal 3. Chicago Police said they had arrested a 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman with battery following the incident.
Last year, more than 150 people were killed across America during Memorial Day weekend with Chicago, Philadelphia and Maryland seeing the worst of the shootings.
This year, police in Philadelphia are also preparing in anticipation of a violent holiday weekend. Crime and ATV’s are of special concern to cops.
The department released a statement this week saying: ‘It is prepared to respond to calls for service throughout the entire city. individuals can expect to see an increased police presence where crowds are expected.’
State Representative Amen Brown has been working with lawmakers in Harrisburg on legislation to confiscate bikes from riders who are breaking traffic laws. ‘I get that riding these ATVs and dirt bikes is part of Philadelphia culture, but there’s a time and place for it,’ he said.
‘The weather is getting nice. That’s why all branches of government and law enforcement we need to work together to get heavy-handed on this issue.’