Apr 17, 2023 - News

Crowds of teens wreak havoc in downtown Chicago over the weekend

The side of a Chicago police SUV in downtown Chicago.

Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hundreds of teens took over Chicago's Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park this past weekend, with videos showing crowds stomping and dancing on parked cars downtown.

Driving the news: Police are also investigating after two teens were shot in the Loop on Saturday night. They're both in fair condition. No one is in custody in connection with the shooting, as of late Sunday.

Why it matters: Violent crime rates typically rise during the warmer months, and Chicago's first warm weekend brought the same chaos that led Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police to institute a curfew downtown last year.

  • With city and police leadership in transition, Chicagoans are looking for answers, and some are calling for increased patrols.

Context: The curfew prohibits teenagers from gathering in Millennium Park after 6pm, Thursday-Sunday. There's also a citywide curfew after 10pm.

Yes, but: The curfew didn't deter large groups from gathering downtown over the weekend. Fifteen people, including six juveniles, were arrested, police said.

  • Most arrests were for reckless conduct, ABC7 reports.

Details: Videos show groups attacking cars driving through the Loop on Saturday night. CTA service, meanwhile, was disrupted by the melee.

  • Police also had to escort people trying to access their cars in nearby parking lots.
  • On Friday night, a 14-year-old was shot near a large gathering at 31st Street Beach, sending crowds running. A 17-year-old was arrested in connection with the shooting, according to police.

Zoom out: Downtown crime and high-profile gatherings were a focus of the recent mayoral campaign, and downtown residents and activists gathered yesterday to demand more patrols, according to the Sun-Times.

What they're saying: "In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city," Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said in a statement.

  • "However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities."

What we're watching: Lightfoot said in a statement that police leaders have promised to "make the necessary adjustments to address these teen trends issues as we move into the summer months."


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