Chicago police step up security for weekend festivals, test new lakefront parking rules

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police are testing new restrictions along the lakefront and increasing patrols at festivals in an effort to reduce violence this weekend.

Police said that in order for everyone to enjoy the multiple festivals in Chicago Friday through Sunday, they're going to step up security.

Several hundred extra officers will be on staff to accommodate for the weekend's festivals and block parties. Those officers will be in both uniform and plain clothing.

"We see a lot of news about festivals having victims or something happening always, but like with more police, maybe it's going to be safer here," said Sofiya Eliyaseya, a vendor at Wicker Park Fest.

Trevor Mills, another vendor at the neighborhood festival, said he views a police presence at such events as a "good thing," particularly when "it can get really busy and people are drinking."

Safety has been a priority for the city over the summer months, when Chicago has seen increased violence.

Seven people were injured last weekend after a group confrontation and shooting that took place at the lakefront near Fullerton.

In addition to adding more officers at popular locations, the Chicago Park District is working with police to implement overnight parking restrictions along Cannon Drive as part of a pilot program.

"Everything is worth trying," said Lincoln Park resident Steve Volini of the new measures. "I mean there's been a lot of problems here in the area."

Police hope both these measures will cut down on incidents like the confrontation last weekend. They also hope it'll help boost fun for all who attend this weekend's events.
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