CHICAGO — As the city gears up to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her safety plan going into the weekend, and she says she wants Chicagoans to be safe from violence and COVID-19.
The mayor said the holiday this weekend will undoubtedly be different this year not just because of the pandemic but also because of the way violence is being approached — she says it’s not just a police problem.
“This has got to be an all hands on deck approach to community,” she said.
On Thursday, the mayor outlined the plans for a safe Fourth of July weekend. She was outraged by the number of children who have been killed in just the last two weeks and had a message for the shooters.
“I ask you, I beg you and I pray that you will find your humanity — that you will think about the sanctity of life,” she said.
Starting Thursday, Chicago police will have 1,200 more officers on the streets through the weekend.
CPD Supt. David Brown said they need everyone’s help to make the strategy work.
Police will be using a so-called “violence reduction dashboard” which they say will help with everything from preventing the next shooting to providing trauma informed victim services.
For the first time ever, the city has committed millions of dollars to violence intervention and street outreach as part of its budget. The mayor hopes this weekend it will pay off.
Lightfoot’s also calling it a make or break weekend for bars and restaurants who have been allowed to re-open amid the pandemic.
“If we see businesses that are flouting the rules that are putting your profit over the public’s health and safety of your workers we’re not going to hesitate to shut you down and if you’re shut down you aren’t coming back anytime soon,” the mayor said.
Most public parks will be open with safe social distancing and masks. Lakefront trails and the 606 will also stay open but the mayor says keep it moving. Beaches will remain off limits.
“Every single year we lose so many people who drown in the Lake Michigan. This year we have no lifeguards because the beaches are closed. Please don’t be foolish. The lake is dangerous,” Lightfoot said.
Officials also reminding folks that fireworks are illegal in the City of Chicago, which includes bottle rockets and sparklers.