Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says officers will crack down on parties of the sort that became the scene of several shootings this past weekend, one of the city’s bloodiest in more than two years. Johnson estimated 20 percent of shooting victims this past weekend were taking part in those gatherings.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says officers will crack down on “large, unsanctioned street parties” of the sort that became the scene of several shootings this past weekend, one of the city’s bloodiest in more than two years, reports the Chicago Tribune. Johnson estimated 20 percent of shooting victims this past weekend were taking part in those gatherings. Tribune data show 74 people were shot, 12 fatally, across the city over the weekend while police counted 66 people shot within a slightly shorter time period. Johnson said 430 officers have been added to patrols in some of the hardest-hit side police districts, and that the number will jump to 600 by this weekend.
Johnson said officers would patrol 30 “emergency hot spot dispersal zones,” where such gatherings historically have occurred. The crackdown will last at least a month. People at parties targeted by police will be told to disperse and face getting a ticket or being arrested. Officers will be looking for people drinking alcohol outdoors, smoking pot, playing music too loud or engaging in other illegal behavior. “I would guess that a lot of those gatherings probably had a gang nexus to it and rival gangs saw them out there and decided to do what they did,” Johnson said. “And, unfortunately, in a lot of instances they don’t care who they shoot. They just know that their rivals are over there and (they) shoot.” Parties grow much quicker than they used to because of social media. “Years ago, a large gathering had to be advertised in order for it to become a large gathering,” said Johnson. “Now, we’ll have people livestreaming from a particular location … and 10 people turn into 200 just like that.” Last weekend marked the worst violence of any weekend in Chicago since before 2016, a year in which homicides hit records unseen for two decades.