Less violent start to Memorial Day weekend follows increased police efforts

CHICAGO -- Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off to summer, and in Chicago it has also been marred with some of the highest gun violence totals of the year.

So while the number of shooting victims is down dramatically so far, many Chicago residents are still proceeding with caution.

During Memorial Day weekend in 2016, a total of 69 people were shot and six of them were killed.

To address the issue, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced raids this weekend that put a number of gang members behind bars, and confiscated their guns. He also added an extra 1,300 officers to patrol this weekend.

“First and foremost we want to step up our visibility, our presence on the lakefront as well as in city areas," said CPD Chief of Patrol Fred Waller. "I don’t want to go too far into that but there is definitely an undercover presence on the lakefront as well.”

High visibility in neighborhoods, downtown, and along the lakefront seems to be paying off, as so far this holiday weekend at least 18 people have been shot, including one person who was killed since Friday night.

Those numbers are way down so far, compared to last year.

“Obviously people being shot is never a good thing, but the fact that it’s changed that drastically, any change in that direction is beneficial,” said Bridgeport resident David Odenyo.

“We have to celebrate when it’s down totally. Not to 15. Not to 14. Not to 13, but to zero. That’s when we celebrate,” said Chicago resident Stephanie Jones.