Famously competent Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Monday that there will be a 10 pm weekend curfew for minors in a last-ditch effort to lower crime rates in the city after another teen was shot and killed in the city’s Millennium Park this past weekend.
Lightfoot had previously made the announcement that there would be restrictions on the evening and nighttime access to the park and that minors would only be permitted into the park after 6 pm from Thursday to Sunday if they had an adult with them. That measure starts this weekend.
“Anyone coming into our public spaces should be able to enjoy them safely,” she said Monday while addressing the shooting that took place over the weekend. “Young people are absolutely welcome downtown but in the evening hours they must be accompanied by a responsible adult.”
Lightfoot said that while it is understandable that young people are looking for outdoor spaces to “hang out,” she said that the scene that took place over the weekend after a teen was shot, and mobs of people flooded the streets of downtown and jumped on vehicles, was unacceptable.
“We need to make sure they are safe and important that our young people understand and respect basic community norms, respect for themselves, respect for each other, and we must ensure that every one of our residents and visitors no matter who they are, where they come from … are able to enjoy our public spaces,” Lightfoot said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Lightfoot said that Millennium Park is in a “unique situation” as lots of young people enjoy the area, “but unfortunately as we saw, the scene devolved into one of violence and chaos.”
Lightfoot said that it was “extremely distressing” that preteen children are going downtown without adults, saying “it’s not smart and it’s not safe.” She also called for the prosecution of those who provide weapons to young people.
Lightfoot, however, would not answer how the curfew would be enforced.
“Our goal here is to educate people into compliance,” Lightfoot said. “Our goal is not to bring down heavy hammer penalties on kids or their parents.”
“Our hope is that example we’ve seen in other instances across the city will hold here in Millennium Park,” Lightfoot said. “My interest is not rounding up young people and throwing them in the back of the wagon. That’s not what this could or should be about.”
“We don’t want to arrest children,” Lightfoot said. “If we have to because they’re breaking the law, we will.”
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker added to Lightfoot’s statements at a different event on Monday, saying that police have been in touch with City Hall and the Chicago Police to provide additional support.
“We’re offering every available service that we have from the state level, including state troopers, if necessary,” Pritzker said. “So that’s always available, but we just wanted to double down and make sure that they know in any moment of — particularly if there’s a crisis that’s happening in any given hour, we have state police on the front lines available to assist.”