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CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), the Chicago Police Department (CPD), other City departments and agencies, and street outreach partners to announce new public safety efforts ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. As part of the Mayor’s all-hands-on-deck public safety strategy for the summer, the City is increasing manpower with an additional 1,200 police officers and enhancing citywide coordination to better deploy strategic police missions, street outreach personnel and City services to communities that need it the most.
“This year’s Fourth of July weekend will be unlike any other due to the COVID-19 virus, however that won’t stop our first responders, city employees, block clubs and street outreach organizations from working around the clock to ensure Chicago’s residents can enjoy this year’s holiday in a safe and healthy way,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Yet, for all our focus on this weekend, we as a city will continue to build on our all-hands-on-deck public safety strategy while doubling-down on investments across Chicago in order to lift up our communities, keep our residents safe and see our neighborhoods thrive.”
To bolster police resources in Chicago’s neighborhoods, the Department added an additional 1,200 police officers who will be deployed from today until Sunday. As part of the Department’s data-informed public safety approach, the additional manpower will be deployed across hot spot areas of Chicago’s neighborhoods that have experienced high levels of violence this summer. Residents can also expect a heavier presence of uniformed officers in and around major transit hubs and thoroughfares.
“This holiday weekend, the Department is ramping up our resources, increasing manpower and enhancing citywide coordination across the board to ensure residents can enjoy a safe holiday weekend,” said Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown. “Our all-hands-on-deck strategy is more than just police deployments, it’s about working with our City partners, street outreach teams and community-based organizations so every neighborhood across Chicago has the support they need to stay safe this weekend.”
To further build coordination and communication among key City, Sister Agency and private and non-profit partners, OEMC will activate the Summer Operations Center (SOC) within the Emergency Operations Center throughout the holiday weekend. As part of this citywide coordination strategy, the City is launching Operation Clean missions this weekend in a multi-department effort to deliver a comprehensive amount of resources to Chicago's neighborhoods including fixing broken streetlights and potholes, repairing damaged buildings, removing unwanted graffiti and cleaning empty lots.
“OEMC will be monitoring conditions throughout this weekend and summer to make every effort to ensure the well-being of all by providing alerts through Notify Chicago that include severe weather, traffic and emergency notifications,” said Rich Guidice, OEMC Executive Director. “Public safety remains our top priority and everyone has a role to play in keeping Chicago safe. I want to remind everyone to always be aware and if you see something, say something by reporting suspicious activity and threats to 9-1-1.”
In addition to expanding police manpower, the Mayor’s Office of Violence Reduction is working in partnership to broaden Chicago’s street outreach footprint across the highest priority neighborhoods. By using the City’s first-ever Violence Reduction Dashboard which maps real-time crime data for deployment purposes, street outreach teams can better provide conflict resolution, de-escalation and intervention services on-the-ground in communities. This latest effort builds on the expansion of street outreach and trauma-informed victim services in Chicago's communities through the City’s $7.5 million investment.
“This weekend and all summer-long, Chicago’s street outreach organizations will be out in full force working in partnership with our residents and the city to not only prevent and intervene in violence but build positive relationships with those who are at the highest risk,” said Chris Patterson of Institute for Nonviolence Chicago. “With more than 150 boots on-the-ground this weekend, the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago will be working in Austin, West Garfield Park and Back of the Yards to address violence in communities before it even happens and ensure residents can safely celebrate the holiday.”
To avoid large gatherings amid the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, all firework shows in the city will be cancelled this weekend. As part of an effort to encourage alternative Fourth of July celebrations, the Chicago Fire Department launched a campaign this week to remind residents that fireworks in the city are illegal, as well as to warn of their potential dangers, including extreme burns, fires and even death.
“With firework shows being cancelled this year to prevent large gatherings, we want to remind all residents that fireworks are not toys – they remain illegal in Chicago,” said Fire Commissioner Richard Ford II. “Without fireworks and parades, this Fourth of July will be like none other, but our firefighters and paramedics are on-deck this holiday so that our residents can celebrate safely.”
While Chicago’s beaches remain closed throughout the holiday weekend, Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, the Lakefront Trail, the 606 Trail, and most neighborhood parks will be open during Fourth of July weekend in accordance with Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance, for the safety of residents and visitors alike. To ensure residents are complying with the beach closures, CPD’s Bike Unit and Marine Unit will patrol the area and the Fire Department’s Air-Sea rescue unit will be fully staffed with boats in the water and the dive teams and helicopters ready to respond to any waterway emergency.
“For the safety of our residents and visitors, Chicago’s beaches and pools will remain closed this holiday weekend. However, most parks will be open for families to celebrate safely and in accordance with the latest public health guidelines,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly.
As part of an effort to prevent large gatherings at restaurants and bars this weekend, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) is ramping up its enforcement efforts to ensure businesses are following the public health guidelines. To avoid the examples of egregious crowding as well as disregard for social distancing and face coverings seen last weekend, Mayor Lightfoot held a briefing this week with all Liquor Establishments to remind them of the strict regulations and consequences, including the requirements for patrons to be seated, to limit capacity, to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and to manage lines outside of establishments.
“The time for education is over,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “All businesses know the regulations and will be held accountable to keep their customers and employees safe. The health of our community depends on it.”
BACP investigators have also canvassed entertainment districts this week and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against establishments that violate the phase four requirements. Violating these guidelines can lead to fines of up to $10,000 per offense as well as immediate closure in egregious cases. While BACP investigators will be on the ground proactively enforcing this weekend, they also encourage members of the public to call 3-1-1 to submit complaints so the Department can respond promptly.
The City is also reminding residents that the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will activate its cooling area at Garfield Center this weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 10 S. Kedzie Ave. To ensure the cooling center facilities can safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, DFSS has reconfigured the cooling areas to accommodate physical distancing that enables visitors to stay at least six feet apart. Additionally, in the case of extremely hot weather, OEMC will coordinate with CTA to ensure cooling buses are available for the public.
Additional emergency preparedness information and tips are available on OEMC’s website: www.cityofchicago.org/oemc. For timely updates and other information, follow OEMC on Twitter via the handle @ChicagoOEMC and sign up for free emergency alerts at www.NotifyChicago.org.