During Memorial Day weekend, this city reopens its Lake Michigan beaches, regular fireworks displays start at Navy Pier and the downtown streets and spruced-up Riverwalk are crowded with tourists.
But the holiday weekend is often seen here as the start of heightened violence, as well. That has been particularly worrying this year to community leaders and city officials, as they grapple with a rise in gun violence that has traumatized some neighborhoods and left city officials searching for new ways to subdue street crime.
“If something doesn’t change, if we don’t get jobs for these kids, if we don’t change the economic situation, I’m worried that we could be looking at a blood bath,” said the Rev. Corey Brooks, a pastor on the city’s South Side, a mostly African-American area where some of the shootings have been concentrated. “If something doesn’t happen, I fear that we’re potentially looking at one of the worst summers we’ve ever had.”