CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has ordered city bridges to be kept raised as barricades, in order to keep out looters from entering downtown and to protect local businesses from further damage. This past week, for the second time in three months since protests began, Lightfoot has ordered most of the bridges to be kept raised up overnight in order to prevent access to the Loop, Gold Coast, and surrounding Chicago neighborhoods.
On Monday morning, after a night of violence, looting and destruction on Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile”, Lightfoot condemned the rioting and damage: “These individuals engaged in what can only be described as brazen and extensive criminal looting and destruction. We are coming for you,” Lightfoot said during a press conference on August 10.
Later on August 10, Lightfoot announced the measures she would take in order to restrict access to downtown, and protect businesses from further damage. Besides keeping the bridges raised, other measures she has taken include limiting service of public transit trains, closing freeway ramps, a partial shutdown of Lake Shore Drive and limiting entry at five designated access points to the city.
The restrictions to the city are in place from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., and will continue to remain in effect until August 17.
During a news conference along the waterfront on August 14, Lightfoot announced that Chicago will be prepared if looters strike again: “So we’ve got to restore confidence by making sure that the measures we take are proactive, that we are aggressive, and when someone dares challenge our resolve that we hold them responsible.”
Over the next week, 1000 additional police officers will maintain a presence on streets in downtown Chicago, an additional 500 body-worn cameras will be distributed to police to help catch as many incidents as possible on camera, and the Chicago Police Department has created a social media task force to monitor any plans for looting.
“When we see new challenges and threats to our city we have to be nimble, we have to adjust, and what you heard today and what you will be seeing this week and [for] the foreseeable future is us being responsive to our business, to our residents, and understanding that intelligence that we have received about potential threats,” Lightfoot added during the press conference.