Youth programs, police patrols on deck for Memorial Day weekend

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CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced free youth services and amped up police patrols ahead of Memorial Day weekend. The Chicago Park District is offering free activities at all 97 locations to keep kids safe and out of trouble — including swimming and basketball. The mayor is calling her anti-violence plan, “Our City, Our Safety.” “…Emphasis on ours. It’s not me, it’s not I. It’s our. We all have to step up and have a role to play in keeping communities safe,” she said. “I will be a visible presence on holiday weekend in particular, and we will start with this weekend.” CPS Supt. Dr. Janice Jackson said nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of the city’s students. “That’s why we are making a concerted effort to make sure that all parents are available of the resources that are present in their community and in the city,” she said.

WATCH: Lori Lightfoot, Eddie Johnson speak at House of Hope

The Chicago Police Department is deploying an additional 1,200 officers. There will be a team dedicated to patrolling the CTA, a special task force of 100 discretionary officers, and extra patrols along Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue. “We all have to be in this together,” Lightfoot said. “We’re flooding the zone, being physically present where we have concerns about any kind of conflict.” Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson said more than 40 additional officers will be at CTA stations and bus stops starting Friday through Aug. 21. Police anticipate large groups of young people traveling downtown. The announcement comes after a violent few days in the city. Since 10 p.m. Wednesday, at least eight people have been shot — one fatally — in attacks across the city. Among the victims was a 30-year-old woman who was shot in the 7400 block of South Michigan Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Thursday. The incident happened outside a bar while a large crowd looked on. Police said the woman, who is hospitalized in serious condition, did not appear to be the intended target. A 13-year-old boy is in critical condition after a shooting in the 6300 block of South Martin Luther King Drive about 3:20 a.m. Thursday. He and a 24-year-old man were found shot in a stairwell. A 17-year-old was fatally shot in the 6900 block of South Maplewood Avenue about 12:25 a.m. Thursday. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified him as Deante Thompson, who lived on the block where he was killed. And witnesses report hearing at least 20 shots near 80th Street and Emerald Avenue on Wednesday night. People suspect the shooting was gang-related retaliation. The Rev. Michael Pfleger went door to door Wednesday. He said he wants children to feel safe this summer while they’re out of school. Lightfoot also faced questions Thursday about the head of her security detail, Jim Smith, co-writing a plan to deploy the National Guard to Chicago. Lightfoot said that she rejects that plan and Smith will have no policy role in the city. For more information on city safety plans, visit


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