Mayor Daley and Chicago Police Department officials today outlined a number of new initiatives the City will undertake this summer to better protect Chicago's young people from the threat of gangs, guns and drugs.
The last day of school in Chicago Public Schools is June 12 and most of the city’s private schools will have begun their summer vacations by then.
"This is probably the favorite time of year for our kids. They can spend more time outdoors and take advantage of the parks, beaches and all the other great things Chicago has to offer," Daley said in a news conference held at Davis Square Park, 4430 S. Marshfield Av.
"But it also gets dark later and kids are out later and we have to remember that if too many young people have too much time on their hands, there's always the possibility of danger for them," he said.
The Mayor said the City will use every tool at its disposal -- including more police personnel on the streets -- to make the streets, sidewalks, schools and parks safe for young people.
The City will also expand its use of technology and make sure that more people than ever can get involved in protecting their children and their streets through the CAPS program, he said.
Daley outlined the plans for summer:
More police leaders will be assigned to street duty. 20 additional Lieutenants will be available for provide supervision, and about 45 recruits currently in training will assist in improving security at city-wide festivals, parades and other events.
"Our most basic and effective tool in fighting violence is the presence of police personnel on neighborhood streets," Daley said.
Daley said the City will continue strict enforcement of its curfew for young people under 17. That curfew is 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
"I ask all parents to please know where your children are this summer and make sure they are home by curfew. When children are off the streets at night, they are safer from violence," the Mayor said.
Daley pointed out that another important thing the City does to make sure children are safe during summer is provide them with positive alternatives to guns, gangs and drugs.
In the past few weeks, Daley has announced that this summer the City and its sister agencies, joined by community organizations and faith-based groups, are providing activities for about 287,000 young people.
That includes 19,000 paid summer jobs with the City and its sister agencies and other partners.
Many other cities are unable to provide as many summer opportunities for young people as Chicago is, the Mayor said. For example, because of the economy, Los Angeles has had to cancel the bulk of its summer school, including both academic and non-academic programs.
Chicago's effort also includes a new summer initiative from the CAPS program called the “Cops Interacting and Targeting Youth” sports program, which pairs police officers and community volunteers with students for sports and mentoring activities.
"Providing these activities is more important this summer than ever before," Daley said.
"With many families under great stress because of the economy, we have to give our children alternatives to hanging out -- on street corners, in parks or places they shouldn't be in the first place," he said.
The Mayor asked every parent and guardian to talk to their children and neighbors, find out what’s available and when the deadlines are and help register young people in summer programs.
"Summer should be a carefree time for young people. But I can't emphasize this strongly enough: It's not up to the police to keep our kids out of trouble this summer. It's up to every one of us," Daley said.
"If we all accept our share of the responsibility, we can make this city safer and improve the quality of life for everyone," he said.