Mayor Lightfoot and federal, state, and county law enforcement officials today announced a public safety strategy to address the recent violence in our city. The safety of our neighbors and community is my top priority, and I and my colleagues have insisted on changes. The plan, developed in collaboration with expert stakeholders, is based on public safety best practices and lessons learned from this summer.
The Mayor agreed that not only businesses were affected, but that "Streeterville, Old Town, River North, the Gold Coast - are neighborhoods as well. Over 100,000 residents live in the downtown area," many of which are our 43rd Ward constituents.
The Mayor acknowledged that what happened Sunday night "should never have happened," and pledged that the City and its law enforcement partners "must and will do better."
Here is the plan:
1) Enhanced use of technology and data analytics
a. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is launching a specialized, 20-person unit focused on around-the-clock review of open source social media activity that might indicate plans for looting. This proactive monitoring will provide the crucial information public safety agencies need to learn of planned activities as early as possible and to respond quickly and appropriately.
b. Every officer on duty this weekend will have body worn cameras. 500 additional body worn cameras will be delivered in the next week to keep expanding coverage. This is important to ensure complete transparency in the event of a police-involved shooting or other incident.
2) Rapid and agile resource deployment
a. Should police learn of any planned looting, CPD officers from the impacted district, the Critical Response Team, and the Community Safety team will be deployed immediately.
b. Additional City resources - such as vehicles from Streets and Sanitation, CDOT and the Water Department - will be mobilized to assist CPD to maintain control of the area through tactics such as traffic control, ensuring CPD has adequate coverage to protect businesses. Illinois State Police will be deployed to shut down areas of access to the city in an emergency, and Cook County Sheriffs will be immediately deployed to neighborhoods to assist in violence reduction efforts.
3) Integrated and faster approach to geographic lockdowns,
a. Should a lockdown be needed, CPD is actively partnering with City agencies to deploy new and enhanced ways to shut down targeted areas - including parts of the Central Business District. These tactics include blocking and disabling vehicles as well as creating new hardened cityscapes (such as bollards and improved concrete structures) to limit movement.
b. CPD will accelerate proactive contact with the business community to allow CPD to respond faster and communicate more effectively with businesses impacted by emergency updates, including stores, buildings, Chambers of Commerce and others. We encourage all businesses and condominium buildings to sign up for the CHIBIZ Alert. This is a very helpful service to alert you of emergencies.
4) Stronger community partnerships
a. CPD’s Community Policing team will be working even more closely with community leaders to keep our city safe from looting, destruction and other criminal activity. As discussed below, CPD is seeking information and video in its efforts to prosecute looters.
b. The city will conduct weekly operations meetings, including weekly intelligence-sharing meetings with business associations and owners to share observations, improve coordination, and better prepare for potential incidents. This effort will also include full integration of the business community in the Office of Emergency Management and Communications’ Summer Operations Center.
5) Robust legal actions
a. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and CPD have formed a special detective task force for looting cases. Police and agents are reviewing video coverage of looting incidents and will be tracking down the identifies of these offenders and identifying their cars for prosecution and seizure. The public is encouraged to assist by reviewing video from the incidents, which can be found here at CPD’s recently launched website.
b. A prosecutors' Task Force on Looting will work in close partnership with the FBI, Illinois State Police, U.S. Attorney's Office, Cook County Sheriff and State's Attorney to ensure that individuals are held accountable for their actions.
As many of you know, I am critical of States Attorney Kim Foxx, but today I support her commitment to working with the City and Police now to keep our streets safe from the activity that shocked so many of us on Sunday night. The State's Attorney has offered their assistance in ensuring CPD is able to bring appropriate charges that get past felony review and are fully prosecuted. Forty-three of the 44 cases presented to her office this week were charged as felonies. This sends a clear message across the city.