CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s top cop said more than 1,000 extra officers will patrol the city’s streets and neighborhoods in order to stave off crime this holiday weekend.
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said they’ll be sent to tourist areas and what he called “hot spots” in the area.
“Each day on the Fourth of July weekend, those officers will be deployed around our hotspots well we’ve had obviously recent violence on the last two weekends, but also historical violence based on last Fourth of July,” Brown said, adding it includes the lakeshore and Michigan Avenue.
Brown said CPD will use cameras and other high tech devices to track activity but also deploying selectively.
“We’ve taken a strong stance on the long swaths of geography that have had recent violence, focusing on not just gained guns and drugs, but the criminal networks that have been driving violence these last two weekends,” Brown said. “That’s a different feature. The way we drill down to the beat level and have those beats with dedicated officers who will be there throughout the night or into the early morning.”
Chicago gun violence has dominated the last two weekends where several children were killed, including a 20-month old child.
“Every single one of these deaths means that we are burying our future. We are burying people whose talents we barely even had an opportunity to tap into, who have not had the opportunity to live out their God-given talent,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a news conference earlier this week, quoting Rev. Michael Pfleger, who on Sunday said he’s never seen so much despair in his 45 years in Chicago.
The superintendent said police will also go after drug dealers.
“We are going after aggressively the mid level and upper level criminal networks that use young people on these drug corners,” Brown said. But he repeated that the police can’t do it alone.
“If they see something suspicious, report it early. Don’t wait to things get violent to start calling and letting us know as police to be engaged on particular neighborhoods so that we can keep it from becoming violent,” Brown said.
He also emphasized crime prevention as a way to curb the violence.
“That means engaging our young people to make better decisions, to steer clear of the drug corners, to steer clear of gang activities so that they won’t become victims of the violence we’ve seen the last couple of weekends.”
But Brown added he said his staff wants to work with residents and not against them.
“We all will be attending over the weekend. Officers will see more guns and take down criminal networks. CPD will serve the community, showing humility, our humanity and respect.”