Chicago police to target large street parties in effort to combat violence

CHICAGO -- Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson took another step aimed at preventing a repeat of last weekend's gun violence.

Johnson said he will be cracking down on potentially dangerous large gatherings. The superintendent said the department has been dissecting what happened last weekend and found a link between shootings and “large, unsanctioned street parties.”

After a heartbreaking weekend filled with gunshots and grief Johnson said this weekend will be different. He said 20 percent of last weekend's shooting victims were attending large, unauthorized street parties so with up to 600 extra officers on patrol some will be monitoring those types of gatherings.

“I would guess that a lot of those gatherings probably had a gangs nexus to it, or rival gangs saw them out there and they decided to do what they do. In a lot of instances they don't care who they shoot,” Johnson said.

Police are focusing on five districts: Calumet and Gresham on the city’s South Side, and Ogden, Harrison and Austin on the West Side. To break up the street parties, police said they will enforce loitering laws and will be on the lookout for underage participants as well as people doing things like smoking marijuana and playing music too loud.

“We give them an opportunity to leave if they don`t leave we can arrest them,” Chief Fred Waller, CPD Bureau of Patrol, said.

Johnson said the city cannot have another weekend like last week.

The department has identified 30 locations as "emergency hot spot dispersal zones.”

Police said this crackdown on large street gatherings will continue for at least a month and should not affect permitted block parties.