CHICAGO — Chicago police and city officials plan to limit access to downtown Friday night as part of weekend safety plans.
OEMC advises residents to expect street closures for a third night in a row.
Rolling closures are expected on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Roosevelt Road, Michigan Avenue, Ida B. Wells Drive and Columbus Drive.
Residents who live or work in the area as well as critical care workers will be allowed access. Officials said those people will be required to show a driver’s license or work ID.
Headed into the weekend the Chicago police have already dealt with a violent twelve hours from Thursday night into Friday morning.
From 8:30 p.m. Thursday to 8:30 a.m. Friday, Chicago recorded at least 14 shootings, with four fatalities. Another man was killed by blunt force trauma to the head.
The shootings and killings happened in different parts of the city, from Near North to the South Loop and even along DuSable Lake Shore Drive. One victim was just 16 years old.
Activists like Tio Hardiman are calling is Chicago’s new normal.
“Unfortunately, here in Chicago, gun violence has become normal,” he said.
More and more familiar, but no less disturbing.
Activist and crisis responder Andrew Holmes agrees.
“Just a lot of chaos across the city — the North, East sides, all across the city,” he said.
Chicago’s Deputy Mayor of Public Safety John O’Malley addressed the violent night on the WGN Morning News.
“Chicago police department is out there daily trying to combat this violence day in and day out,” he said. “We continue to battle everyday here in Chicago.”
Hardiman said his organization is working to help resolve gang disputes before they escalate.
“Mediate all the conflicts that the guys are struggling with,” he said. “We have to work harder on the front end, see what violence interrupters do. We mediate conflicts before any shots are fired.”
City data shows there have been more than 570 homicides this year and close to 2600 shootings in Chicago so far this year.
This week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, introduced an ordinance that would let city lawyers sue gang leaders in court – to collect money, guns, and other assets.
“To be very blunt and clear we are going after their blood money,” Lightfoot said. “Money they have profited from the killing of innocents.”
“The majority of gang members in Chicago, they don’t have nothing,” Hardiman said. “That’s why they’re out there robbing and shooting people. So if you file a lawsuit against a gang member, what are you going to get out of that.”
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Instead, Hardiman is calling for a holistic approach that includes crime prevention, education, economic investment, and conflict mediation.
Holmes said a big part of the solution begins at home.
“I don’t care how old your teenagers are, how old your grown adults are, we have to teach them to love more rather than to hate with that gun,” he said. “Because that gun eventually may cost them their life.”