Closures, increased police presence, increased patrols, a new curfew and more are expected in Chicago for Memorial Day weekend, police and city officials said Friday.
The holiday weekend will see major events like Coldplay at Soldier Field, the new Sueños Music Festival, the opening of the city beaches, and the Crosstown Classic bringing large crowds across town.
Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications warned people traveling to the city for the holiday weekend to beware of additional crowds, resulting in different traffic patterns and likely delays.
But the popular events come as the city continues to face a wave of violent crime in a slew of neighborhoods, including fatal shootings, armed robberies, hit-and-runs, CTA attacks, carjackings and more.
“Historically, as summer heats up across the country in every city, there is an increased potential for violence,” the Chicago Police Superintendent said. David Brown said Friday. “But every day, fellow police officers are working with locals to stop the violence and get guns off our streets.”
Earlier this month, the Chicago Police Department announced that a week off for officers would be canceled before Memorial Day to add more crime-fighting resources, and that “the department can also set up 12-hour tours if operational needs arise.”
This weekend also marks the start of a new curfew for unaccompanied minors in Chicago. The Chicago City Council passed the weekend curfew earlier this week, bringing it back to 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.
The new order will also raise the age of residents affected by the curfew from 16 and under to 17 and under, officials said.
Certain exceptions, including for certain paid events, will however apply.
The curfew follows downtown crimes involving minors as well as a rally at North Avenue Beach that led to chaotic scenes in several Chicago neighborhoods, with multiple arrests after police ordered teenagers leaving the beach after the event.
For the holiday weekend, police officials said a portion of the North Avenue Beach parking lot will be closed to accommodate a police command post, fire apparatus and other equipment, confirmed a CPD spokesperson.
“For the holiday weekend, we’ve increased resources across all of our police department communities,” Brown said.
He noted efforts will include neighborhood police presence, added officers at parks and beaches “sing that these obviously remain a very popular destination” and enhanced security at all events and along the Chicago Transit Authority.
“We have more patrols and foot patrols to enhance safety and security at all these major events,” he said. “We will also continue to strengthen our transit system. We have conducted numerous outdoor mobilization roll calls, as well as maintaining high uniform visibility throughout the CTA.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was confident in the plans in place, but noted the city needed to remain “nimble”.
“We have a security network with our community partners where we constantly collect, analyze and use data to inform how we are deploying not only police resources, but city resources in general,” she said. declared. “So I’m confident in the plan we have for this weekend and really, for the summer, but we literally have to be nimble and flexible. Because circumstances, assumptions can absolutely change.”