CHICAGO – As the busy holiday weekend begins, the Chicago Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Illinois State Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications are working together to enhance enforcement efforts and augment security resources to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and those traveling in Chicago and through the adjacent expressway systems.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced that beginning today, thousands of uniformed and plain clothed CPD officers will be joined by FBI agents, State Troopers and Sheriff’s Deputies to ensure Chicago has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. In addition to a heavy police presence on highways, and major thoroughfares, including Lake Shore Drive, extra police officers will be highly visible in neighborhoods throughout the city, and at city parks, along the lake, and at Navy Pier on the 4th. CPD sent a strong message that violence and gang activity will not be tolerated when it completed a raid this week striking at street gangs throughout Chicago.
Similar to other major holiday weekends, Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz announced that the ISP is stepping up its presence on expressways and highways around the city of Chicago, and will be conducting joint traffic enforcement initiatives with CPD.
Several major events with large crowds are scheduled for this weekend, including Fourth of July celebrations at Navy Pier on Saturday and Monday, Guns N’ Roses concerts at Soldier Field on Friday and Sunday, Modest Mouse concert at Northerly Island on Saturday and both Sox and Cubs home games on Monday. Fans attending events should be aware of the prohibited items and security checks in order to provide a safe environment for all.
In addition, Taste of Chicago street closures have gone into effect for the annual food fest starting July 6 in Grant Park. Columbus is closed from Roosevelt to Monroe (Balbo remains open);
Congress from Columbus to the semi-circle and Jackson from Michigan to Lake Shore Drive are closed through July 11.
Attendees at events as well as the traveling public are urged to be aware of surroundings and report suspicious activity that appears to be an imminent threat to 9-1-1. OEMC Managing Deputy of Operations Rich Guidice stated that everyone has a role to play a role in keeping Chicago safe – and while law enforcement agencies are enhancing security and OEMC will monitor activities, everyone should be cognizant of any situation that may warrant attention. Some of these activities could be innocent, but it’s up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation.
OEMC will also be monitoring events, as well as weather conditions, throughout the weekend and traffic control aides will be deployed to assist with traffic management.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson and Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul are
announcing new legislation today that aims to hold repeat gun offenders – the small number
of individuals who are largely driving the violence in Chicago — accountable for their crimes.
The legislation will establish guidelines that aim to keep repeat offenders from returning to the
streets before an adequate amount of time is served, while still allowing judges to use discretion to
impose lighter sentences if there are significant mitigating circumstances.
Violence in Chicago this year has been driven by repeat gun offenders, and it is clear that they are
no longer deterred by Illinois’ current laws. In fact, more than 50 individuals involved in shootings
and murders this year would have been in prison at the time of the incident if tougher sentencing
policies were already in place. Furthermore, more than a dozen individuals who were arrested for
weapons violation this year would have been in prison at the time of the incident for a previous
weapons violent conviction if tougher sentencing policies were already in place.
“Repeat gun offenders are driving the violence in Chicago. We know who they are, we know
where they live, and we know the kind of destruction they can wreck on communities. The
Chicago Police Department is working hard to keep them off this street, but we need help from the
justice system to hold them accountable for their actions,” said Superintendent Johnson. “With this
legislation, we can hold these individuals accountable, deter potential offenders from committing
crimes, and keep more residents safe and free from gun violence.”
At today’s event, Superintendent Johnson and State Senator Raoul were joined by elected
officials, community leaders, and members of clergy.
“The challenge of addressing gun violence is not one just for law enforcement: it’s one for all of
us,” said State Senator Raoul. “It’s clear we need a comprehensive solution to reduce violent
crime in our communities. Part of that solution is legislation that ensures that repeat gun offenders
are held accountable for their actions, while at the same time maintaining judicial discretion to
consider the facts of a particular case. This is the beginning of an important conversation about
how to ensure that our streets are safe from the gun crime that prevent ourcommunities from
reaching their full potential.”
The Chicago Police Department has taken many steps in recent months to address gun violence
in Chicago, including seizing more than 4,300 guns since January — a 30 percent increase from
last year. CPD has also made more than 1530 gun arrests this year, a 9 percent increase from
last year. But it is clear that there are far too many illegal guns on the streets, used by criminals
with previous arrest histories, and this legislative effort aims to complement CPD’s work. The
legislation grows out of conversations between Superintendent Johnson and Senator Raoul –
along with State Senators Munoz and Zalewski – over the past several months to comprehensively
address gun violence in Chicago
In 2013, Mayor Emanuel led an effort for stricter gun laws aimed at repeat offenders. The
legislation sought to increase penalties for several gun crimes, including a 3-year mandatory
minimum for aggravated unlawful use of a gun and a requirement that offenders serve at least 85
percent of their sentence.
Moving forward, ongoing conversations will drive this piece of legislation as lawmakers in
Springfield work to gain public support.