CHICAGO (CBS) — It was a pre-holiday haul for Chicago’s Organized Crime Unit when it recovered heroin, cocaine, cannabis and almost $10,000 in drug money from targeted raids on gang members.
“It’s no secret to us that violent organizations we have are fueled by narcotics, so when we go into weekends like this, we normally do targeted raids to get these individuals off the streets,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said.
It’s one tactic Chicago cops are using to try to reduce holiday violence. Another is close cooperation with the feds.
“If you commit gun crimes, you should be prepared to face prison time, hard prison time, federal prison time,” U.S. Attorney John Lausch said at the “Hands Across Chicago” Rally.
Sounding very much like the former federal prosecutor she is, Lightfoot underscored the federal backup Chicago police can employ.
“If you are engaged in violent crime anywhere, there’s not going to be any shelter. We are going to find you, prosecute you, and as appropriate, send you to federal prison, not around the corner. You’re going to be far away,” Lightfoot said.
Last year on Memorial Day weekend, seven people were killed on Chicago’s streets. Lightfoot said she hopes to reduce that but won’t be satisfied with any number that’s not zero.
“If people don’t feel they can go to the beach, go downtown, walk through their neighborhoods, or be in the house safely, we are giving up everything to chaos,” she said.
Lisa Young is a mother and a resident in West Humboldt Park. She said while violence is a problem in Chicago, it doesn’t discourage her from raising the future of the city.
“We are here. We are part of the world, but you don’t have to be part of the violence,” she said. “We have to exist.”
Lightfoot announced that nearly 1,200 officers will be spread across the city from the lakefront to the western border.
“Chicago’s neighborhoods will all be a priority for CPD, but we are also keeping a close eye on popular gatherings like downtown shopping districts as well as beaches and parks,” Johnson said.
Lightfoot also reminded residents that police need them to help by reporting crimes in their communities.
“People have to step out and have faith,” she said. “Do what is right, not provide a sanctuary to people picking up arms.”
Johnson confirmed that detectives will be in uniform in squad cars this weekend and many vacations have been cancelled to beef up police presence.