Coming off a disastrous 2016 that saw more than 760 slain and some 4,300 shot across the city, Chicago police are preparing for the Memorial Day weekend, and the unofficial start of summer, traditionally, the year’s most violent stretch, the Chicago Tribune reports. During last year’s holiday weekend, 71 were shot, six fatally, making it one of the most violent Memorial Day weekends in memory. A year earlier, 57 people were shot, 12 fatally. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the department will deploy an extra 1,000 officers on the streets each day today through Monday. The added officers will patrol the parks and other open spaces where large gatherings are expected.
The Harrison District has been among the city’s most violent for years. This year, police officials have been encouraged by a drop in violence in the West Side district. “We’ve got a lot of good people that live in those communities, and they’re just as sick and tired of this violence as I am,” Johnson said. “So they are coming forward, giving us the information, and the officers are working hard in those areas.” Through Sunday, the district has recorded 23 homicides, a 28 percent decline from 32 a year earlier. Shootings have declined even more, to 111, a 33 percent drop from 165 a year earlier, the department said.