Will 30 "peacekeepers" curb violence in Chicago this Memorial day weekend?
The holiday weekend is predictably violent, so the state is stepping in...
A few years back, I remember reading about a bar on Long Island being investigated for running a betting pool on whether more people would be shot in Chicago or New York over Labor Day weekend. This was 2020 and over 50 people were shot in Chicago that weekend (8 fatally). Memorial Day also brings heightened levels of gun violence to Chicago (see below). These two long weekends, which mark the unofficial beginning and end of summer, are predictably violent in many American cities, but especially Chicago.
Just as it’s repugnant to make light of gun violence with your drinking buddies, it’s also outrageous when state and city leaders repeatedly fail to prepare for predictably elevated levels of gun violence during the summer months. However, it’s never too late to start. This year, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is deploying a new Citywide Crisis Prevention and Response Unit to violence-prone Chicago neighborhoods over Memorial Day weekend through the end of June. This team of 30 so-called “peacekeepers” will provide “essential assistance in de-escalation, conflict resolution, and crisis support across Chicago.” I’m skeptical but encouraged by the sentiment. By Tuesday morning, we’ll have a sense of whether this initiative made Chicago safer during Memorial Day and whether other Illinois cities might benefit from similar peacekeeping efforts. When the data is available, I’ll update the chart below.