Labor Day weekend: CPD lays out plan to curb violence amid end of summer celebrations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The city released its plan to deploy hundreds of additional police officers across Chicago for the holiday weekend in hopes of reducing violence.

Chicago police will use their familiar "flood the zone" strategy, which has previously been deployed during other holidays and major events. An extra 1,000 police officers will be present on the street in hopes of reducing gun violence. The additional officers will be both in uniform and undercover.

"We want everyone in Chicago to enjoy the Labor Day weekend but in a responsible fashion," said CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "If you see something suspicious, don't hesitate to reach out to an officer."

It's a smaller deployment than over July 4 and Memorial Day weekends, both of which were marred by violence.

"We can always beef that up if we have to, but historically Labor Day hasn't been quite as taxing as the previous two holidays," Johnson said.

Police focused on transit hubs, the lakefront and beaches, and parks in various neighborhoods. Officers on foot, in vehicles and in the air were apparent on Michigan Avenue downtown.

"It actually makes me feel safer because I feel like everyone's being protected, and they're being watched," said Courtney Todd, visiting from Oklahoma. "So they're on their best behavior."

Police are keeping an especially close eye on what they call pop-up parties; spontaneous neighborhood gatherings that are announced online.

"Once you put it out there on social media, if it's anything that has a gang nexus to it, that rival gang that you've been in conflict with might see that also," Johnson said.

In 2018, six people were killed and an additional 28 were injured over the Friday to Sunday period of Labor Day weekend.

Johnson said the Chicago Police Department will use resources including the Cook County Sheriff's Department and Illinois State Police, as well as working with their federal partners with at the ATF, DEA and FBI.

Despite the concerns about violence, police said shootings are down 12 percent from last year. In fact, they're at a five-year low.


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Many consider Labor Day weekend to be the unofficial end of summer.

Many consider Labor Day weekend to be the unofficial end of summer, and it's celebrated with festivals across the Chicago area.

Seniors lined up Friday afternoon for Senior Day at the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park. Organizers of Fiesta Boricua made their final preparations f the annual celebration of Puerto Rican culture this weekend in Humboldt Park.

At 31st Street Beach a group of girlfriends relaxed in the sand and breeze, saying their goodbyes to the season.

One sixth grader spent her summer learning how to run a small business. Amirah Manson sold snow cones and snacks, and made enough money to buy some of her school supplies. Friday she set up shop in Washington Park.
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