CHICAGO (CBS) — An extra 1,300 additional police officers were on patrol across the city for the Memorial Day weekend, as part of the Chicago Police Department’s plan to keep people as safe as possible for the holiday.
Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Fred Waller said the focus was on “high visibility and high presence.”
The department will have additional traffic patrols on Lake Shore Drive, and extra bicycle and foot patrols on the lakefront and at city parks.
“They’ve stepped it up, and it needed to be stepped up,” Dr. John Kotis said Saturday at North Avenue Beach.
Cathy Whitfield said having extra officers at the beaches makes her feel safer.
“If they’re not here, it’ll be a problem if people get killed,” she said.
Officers were patrolling North Avenue Beach on foot and on ATVs, as the city’s 27 beaches opened for the summer.
“It makes me, as a father, feel more secure in bringing my kids down to the beach,” Kotis said.
Police said the goal is to make sure people know violence won’t be tolerated.
On Friday night, 53 people were arrested, including 30 who were arrested during pre-emptive raids, in anti-violence initiatives targeting the South and West sides, according to a statement from Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Police teams also recovered four illegal guns and issued more than 70 traffic citations.
More than 400 more officers were on the streets each night of the Memorial Day weekend compared to last year.
“We want high visibility. We want to make sure that the citizens know that they can have a safe Memorial Day weekend,” Waller said.
As of Sunday morning, at least 16 people have been shot in Chicago since 7 p.m. Friday. Last year, 26 people were shot in the first two days of the holiday weekend.