Chicago police plan to crack down on large parties before they get violent

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said police analysis found that a lot of the shootings from the city's violent weekend were tied to what they called "large unsanctioned gatherings" or parties.

Now police will target some of their efforts into breaking up these parties before they get violent

"The goal is not to be out there arresting people because they are trying to enjoy the summertime. That's not the goal. But once we say, 'It's time to move on,' then it's time to move on," Johnson said.

Thursday afternoon Chicago police announced a new strategy to help curb the violence the city saw last weekend.

"To prepare for this upcoming weekend, we have created emergency hot spot dispersal zones in 30 additional locations where historical large unsanctioned parties or gang gatherings occur," Johnson said.

Johnson said 20 percent of last weekend's shooting victims were participating in large unsanctioned gatherings or parties, and thanks to social media he said some of these parties can attract unwanted attention.

"Years ago a large gathering really had to be advertised for it to become a large gathering. Now we have people live streaming from a particular location, 'We're over here partying, doing whatever we do,'" he said.

In a Facebook video seen hundreds of times, a woman was attending a gathering in Lawndale on the 1300-block of Millard when police said two gunmen started shooting at the crowd. A 17-year-old girl was killed, and five others were injured including an 11-year-old boy.

"Everybody in this city should be sick and tired of seeing what we're seeing right now," Johnson said.

A shooting Monday morning in the 1300-block of South Loomis where one person was killed also stemmed from a party. At the afternoon news conference, Johnson pointed out a common theme between some of the shootings: what he called "large unsanctioned gatherings" with possible gang ties.

"A lot of these gatherings probably had a gang nexus to it and rival gangs saw them out there and decided to do what they did," said Johnson.

Johnson said this new strategy will be on top of plans announced earlier in the week to add additional officers to the South and West sides. He stresses the goal is not to go find parties and make arrests, but make sure the gatherings are safe.

He added that part of the strategy also involves outreach to existing block party groups to make sure every celebration is safe.
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