New Chicago Mayor Faces Memorial Day Violence

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New Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot inherits a city with persistent violence and shootings. Through May 19, Chicago recorded 162 slayings, 23 fewer than the year-earlier period. A big part of her first week in office involved preparing for Memorial Day weekend, which historically has marked the start of a spike in street violence that lasts throughout the summer. Lightfoot’s goal is to stop that trend from continuing, the Chicago Tribune reports. Violence in the city over the Memorial Day weekend as of Monday appeared on par with last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Three dozen people were shot in 27 incidents from Friday evening to Monday morning, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Five people died, including two people shot near public housing that officers had repeatedly visited to break up large crowds.

In her campaign, Lightfoot said leaders need to rethink how they deal with crime. Key plans include a more robust mayor’s Office of Violence Prevention and increased investment in neighborhoods. Lightfoot’s new office would help inmates returning from prison and support crime victims and witnesses. She is pushing police to use gathered intelligence more aggressively for solving crimes, and is is dissatisfied with detectives because their rate for solving homicides needs to improve. Lightfoot doesn’t want to micromanage Chicago cops, but said it would be foolish for her not to draw on her experience as a federal prosecutor and police accountability official. “I’m not the police superintendent, but my job is to hold people accountable,” Lightfoot said. Zerlina Smith of the anti-violence group Institute for Nonviolence Chicago hopes Lightfoot’s idea to get police and outside agencies working together isn’t just lip service. “In black communities, we’ve been promised so much for so long and that’s how people get elected, off the promises,” she said.

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