Closures, a heightened police presence, increased patrols, a new curfew and more are on tap 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 city beaches and the Crosstown Classic bringing large crowds across the city.
Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications warned people headed to the city for the holiday weekend to be wary of additional crowds, leading to different traffic patterns and likely delays.
But the popular events come as the city continues to face a rash of violent crime across a multitude of neighborhoods, including fatal shootings, armed robberies, hit-and-runs, CTA attacks, carjackings and more.
“Historically, as the summer gets warmer throughout the country in all cities, there’s increased potential for violence,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said Friday. “But fellow police officers work with residents to fight violence and remove guns off our everyday streets.”
Earlier this month, the Chicago Police Department announced that a week’s worth of days off for officers would be canceled leading up to Memorial Day in order to add more resources to combat crime, and that “the department may also implement 12-hour tours of duty if operational needs arise.”
This weekend also marks the start of a new curfew for unaccompanied minors in Chicago. Chicago City Council passed the weekend curfew earlier this week, moving it back from 11 pm to 10 pm on weekends.
The new ordinance will also move the age of those residents impacted by the curfew from 16 and younger to 17 and younger, according to officials.
Some exceptions, including for certain ticketed events, will apply, however.
The curfew follows downtown crime involving minors as well as a gathering at North Avenue Beach that led to chaotic scenes in several Chicago neighborhoods, with multiple arrests occurring after police ordered teens to leave the beach following the event.
For the holiday weekend, police officials said a portion of the parking lot at North Avenue Beach will be closed to accommodate a police command post, fire apparatus and other equipment, a CPD spokesman confirmed.
“For the holiday weekend, we have increased resources in all of our communities from the police department,” Brown said.
He noted efforts will include neighborhood police presence, added officers at parks and beaches “sing those 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’ll also continue to strengthen our public transit system. We conducted numerous mobilization outdoor roll calls, as well as maintaining a high uniform visibility across the CTA.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she feels confident in the plans in place, but noted the city must remain “nimble.”
“We have a web of safety with our community partners where we are constantly taking in, analyzing data and using that to inform how we are deploying not just police resources, but city resources generally,” she said. “So I feel confident in the plan that we have for this weekend and really, for the summer, but literally we’ve got to be nimble and flexible. Because circumstances, assumptions can absolutely change.”