August 14, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot Joins Law Enforcement and Prosecutorial Partners, Business and Community Leaders to Announce New Strategies to Protect Chicago’s Neighborhoods

New citywide efforts to protect commercial corridors and neighborhood businesses through rapid deployments, stronger community partnerships, enhanced use of technology and more; CPD to fully equip every citywide team working in the field with body-worn cameras starting this weekend
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown today joined law enforcement and prosecutorial partners and business and community leaders to announce a new comprehensive plan to further protect Chicago’s commercial corridors, neighborhood businesses and communities. Building on Mayor Lightfoot’s all-hands-on-deck neighborhood protection plan that was launched on Monday morning, the City’s latest strategies are designed to prevent future looting attempts through stronger community partnerships, rapid response deployments, enhanced use of technology, robust legal actions and an integrated approach to geographic lockdowns. 

“The looting and violence experienced this week not only cost our businesses thousands of dollars in damages but robbed residents and communities across our city of their sense of safety and well-being. That’s why we are standing today with law enforcement and business partners as well as faith-based and community leaders from across the city to ensure this kind of criminal violence and destruction never happens again in our city and that it is not—nor will it ever be—our new normal,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “By strengthening community partnerships and ensuring rapid response deployments, we are working to move beyond the challenges of our current moment and into a recovery that leaves us stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than we have ever been.” 

To strengthen the City’s rapid and agile response to looting incidents, the Department will deploy officers from the impacted District, the Critical Incident Response Team, and the Community Safety team to the affected location. Additionally, City resources —including Streets and Sanitation vehicles—will be mobilized to assist CPD in maintaining control of the area through tactics such as traffic control. These resource deployments will ensure CPD has adequate coverage to protect businesses. 

“We are working alongside the community with the common goal of keeping our neighborhoods and residents safe,” said Superintendent Brown. “This cannot be done by CPD alone and we must all stand against criminal and destructive behavior that is not only illegal, but is an attack on our city.” 

As part of new efforts to leverage neighborhood leadership, CPD’s Community Policing team is partnering with local community, faith-based and business leaders to conduct weekly operation meetings to improve public-private coordination and further prepare for potential incidents. This latest coordination effort will fully integrate the business community in the Office of Emergency Management and Communications’ (OEMC) Summer Operations Center. Additionally, the City continues to deploy more than 100 infrastructure assets from the Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) and the Department of Water Management t (DWM), who are working in concert with the Chicago Police Department to protect local commercial corridors. 

“We appreciate the work that has been done and the measures announced today to address the looting and criminal activity most recently experienced in the Central Business District,” said Rich Gamble, Chair of The Magnificent Mile Association. “We will continue to advocate for our member businesses, downtown workers from all city wards and beyond, and the 110,000 residents who call The Magnificent Mile home.” 

“As the leader of West Side Forward, I have dedicated myself to doing everything I can to breathe life into the West Side’s economy by investing in people, systems and infrastructure. That's why it pained me to see the looting and property damage experienced this past Monday across our communities," said Ed Coleman, CEO of West Side Forward. "Today's efforts give me great hope for our city and I want to thank Mayor Lightfoot and the entire Chicago Police Department for joining me in this mission to uplift our small business community and making sure they have the tools they need to recover." 

Reinforcing the Department’s commitment to transparency and accountability at every level, the City is ensuring that all patrol officers and citywide teams in the field, including the Community Safety Team, the Critical Incident Response Team and Summer Mobile, are equipped with body-worn cameras (BWC) starting this weekend. Additionally, starting this weekend, the City has negotiated with its vendor to receive more than 500 additional BWCs to ensure that every CPD officer is equipped at all times. Furthermore, as part of enhanced efforts to utilize technology, the Department will focus around-the-clock on open-source social media activity that could indicate plans for looting. This will include ongoing key term searches as well as review of relevant pages or accounts that have been used to organize such activity previously. 

In partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department has formed a special Task Force of Detectives to specifically manage looting cases to ensure that those who loot are held accountable. This Task Force is already reviewing video camera footage and other evidence to identify perpetrators and develop strong cases against them. 

“Violent acts, threats to life, and the organized destruction of property interfere with the rights and safety of peaceful demonstrators and all other citizens,” said SAC Emmerson Buie, Jr, Chicago Office of the FBI. “The FBI is committed to working with our community and law enforcement partners to protect the American people and ensure that violent individuals and groups are brought to justice.” 

The City is also strengthening partnerships with the Cook County Sheriff, Illinois State Police, and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO). The Task Force on looting will work in close partnership with the CCSAO to ensure that individuals are held accountable for their actions. The City is also considering new laws and regulations that would provide CPD greater flexibility in prosecuting cases. 

“The violence and destruction over the past week were heartbreaking and horrifying for us all, but I know that we are stronger when we come together to rebuild what’s been broken,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “I am committed to keeping our communities safe and continuing to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to demand accountability and seek justice for the people of Cook County.” 

The Illinois State Police will also assist in securing areas impacted by looting by restricting access to affected areas of the city. The City is also partnering with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, who will deploy into neighborhoods and supplement CPD manpower. In addition to law enforcement partners, the City is utilizing its departments and agencies to deploy new and enhanced ways to shut down geographies — including parts of the downtown core — in the event of another looting incident. These tactics include blocking and disabling vehicles as well as creating new hardened cityscapes. 

Over the weekend, OEMC will continue to ensure residents have the latest information on any restricted access to the downtown area. To receive emergency alerts for updates on street closures and public transportation, subscribe to Chicago’s text or email alert system at NotifyChicago.org or follow OEMC on Facebook and Twitter @ChicagoOEMC. 

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