Chicago police outline Labor Day weekend safety plan

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CHICAGO — Chicago police will deploy an additional 1,000 officers to combat gun violence over the Labor Day weekend.

That's down from 1,400 last year, and it's also less than were deployed over Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July holiday.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said numbers are trending down when it comes to shootings.

"This past summer we saw the lowest levels of violence since 2014," Johnson said at a news conference Friday. "We still have far too many families victimized by senseless violence. While progress is being made, we're nowhere near where we need to be in terms of creating a culture of accountability."

Right now, murders are down 15% from last year, and at the lowest rate since 2015.

Last Labor Day weekend, there were four people killed and 23 wounded.

This weekend, Johnson said they will add additional foot patrols, traffic units on Lake Shore DRive, as well as ATV and bike patrols near city parks and beaches.

Due to an increase in drownings along the lakefront, the Marine Unit will be fully staffed.

Johnson also mentioned beefing up plain clothes and under cover officers with gang and FBI task forces. One of the biggest challenges is large so-called "pop-up parties" over the weekends.

"Pop-up parties — you might have five people that standing outside socializing and decide to go on social media and invite other people over for drinking or whatever," Johnson said. "That five people can turn into 100-200 and in 30 minutes, so that's always an issue because once you put it out there on social media, if it has a gang nexus to it, that rival gang you've been in conflict with might see it also, and might come by there and that's when you have those incidents of multiple victim shootings."

Father Michael Pfleger led his parishioners in a Friday night peace walk, asking that the city's children be allowed to enjoy the last weekend of summer.

"Make this a good weekend for our kids.  To the idiots and clowns out there, stop being terrorists in our community," he said.

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