Chicago police reveal plans for combating summer violence

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CHICAGO — Lives are literally depending on the Chicago Police Department's "Summer Safety Initiative" to go well.

CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson outlined his strategy for preventing crime this summer at a news conference Tuesday.

“As a proud Chicagoan who’s spent countless summers in the city, I’ve experienced the best and the worst of what we can see during our summer months," Johnson said. "We want all Chicagoans and those visiting our city during the summer months to take in everything that our proud city had to offer without having to worry about becoming victims of gun violence, robberies or other crimes.”

The announcement comes the day after Johnson, and other local and federal public safety leaders met with Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot. Lightfoot has been very public about her desire to drive down Chicago’s gun violence, particularly during the summer. She has also stated Johnson’s future with CPD depends on how the summer plays out.

"I’ve been a cop for 31 years so pressure really doesn’t play into it at all. At the end of the day you have to stay on the path that you think will help reduce crime in the city," Johnson said.

Johnson’s summer plan is largely based on using technology, like ShotSpotter, and city cameras to help determine where and when to deploy resources.

He’s also adding:

  • Bike teams in high-foot traffic areas and entertainment districts.
  • Summer CTA unit to handle the influx of riders on public transportation.
  • Mobile patrols that will travel to address high crime areas, particularly on the South and West Sides.

Johnson said other partnerships, designed to help address the root causes of crime, will be announced in the coming weeks.

"It’s a complex issue with multiple layers involved in it. Drug use, mental health, job opportunities, educational opportunities. Or something as simple as parenting skills," Johnson said.

Johnson also announced nearly two dozen changes to the department's command staff. He said many of those promotions are due to retirement.

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