There will be an increased police presence at Sunday’s Lunar Year Parade in Chinatown, Chicago police announced Monday, after a mass shooting left 11 people dead in a Los Angeles-area ballroom Saturday amid a weekend of new year’s celebrations.
“While there is no actionable intelligence in Chicago, we are strengthening security for Lunar New Year celebrations in the upcoming days by increasing our visibility and presence at these events,” Chicago police said in a statement.
Parade organizers said safety is always on the top of their list. Gene Lee, founder of Chicago Chinatown Special Events Committee and organizer of the event, said police told him they would be on high alert Sunday, but he said “unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the positions of the United States as of lately.”
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Lee also said the organizers have hired additional security.
“I wouldn’t say we are pins and needles, but we’re all very much aware and alert,” Lee said.
Sunday’s parade marks the first time the Lunar New Year Parade has been held since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Chicago. It starts at 1 p.m. and will take off from 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue and travel north on Wentworth toward the viewing stand on Cermak Street and Wentworth.
Ald. Sigcho-Lopez, 25th, said he talked with community leaders over the weekend about their safety concerns. He said community members were able to collaborate on a safety plan with their aldermen and police precinct.
“We feel confident with our safety plan, and to move forward with this joyful event in a safe environment. We invite the whole city to come out,” said Sigcho-Lopez.
Ald. Nicole Lee, 11th, said in a written statement, “The safety of our community is my top priority and it’s my job as alderman to ensure we are using available resources, and demanding more when needed, to keep our community safe everyday. We deserve to enjoy this celebration of our culture and community, and we will do so with pride, just as we have for generations.”
Lunar New Year celebrations kicked off in Chicago over the weekend, but celebrators said they refused to live in fear after a gunman killed 11 and injured nine others in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday night. Police have not released a motive. The suspected shooter was found dead by police in a white van in nearby Torrance a day later.
Anti-Asian hate crimes have gone up fivefold in the last three years, according to Chicago police data.