Mayor Brandon Johnson offers new Chicago safety plan for Memorial Day weekend – NBC Chicago

After just a few days in office, Memorial Day weekend will be the first major test for Mayor Brandon Johnson and his acting police commissioner Fred Waller.

At a press conference on Thursday, the duo pledged to tackle the violence that often accompanies the unofficial start of summer with a mix of law enforcement, extra patrols and activities centered on people. young people in the city.

“My administration’s top priority is to ensure that there is a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy in our city and that it keeps people safe,” Johnson said at a news conference surrounded by department heads. city ​​and community leaders.

The plan revolves around a series of youth activities and programs funded by $3.5 million from businesses and corporations.

The Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (PSPC) is one of 250 grantees. Executive Director Ester Franco-Payne said her group plans to take over neighborhood hotspots in Austin and provide opportunities for teens to play sports in underused spaces that typically attract violent activity.

Tamar Manasseah founded Mothers against Senseless Killing (MASK). His group raises awareness near the intersection of 75e and steward for 10 years.

“We built a community center on vacant land and saw crime drop astronomically,” she said. “We think it can happen anywhere.”

But the task of keeping the city safe will not be easy. Last year, nine people were killed and more than 40 were injured in the most violent Memorial Day weekend in five years.

While the mayor’s plan delivers on its campaign promise to invest in people, some people who face urban violence daily are optimistic but cautious.

“If it doesn’t work, there’s still care out there… there’s still hope, but we have to be prepared,” said St. Pastor Donovan Price.

And the acting superintendent says each district has a plan that includes waiving a day off for all regular duty officers.

“We will also monitor trailers, street takeovers and drag racing incidents while increasing police presence in public transit, retail hallways, parks and other high traffic areas,” a Waller said.

Johnson said he was betting big on his new strategy, but was prepared to be “agile” if circumstances changed.

“It’s not just a strategy around the police, you have a collaboration of people to make sure there’s activity in Chicago,” he said.

NBC Chicago

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