Chicago businesses fear recent violence is preventing shoppers from coming downtown – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – As the weekend approaches, Chicago’s shopping districts are bracing for trouble and calling on Mayor Lori Lightfoot for help. Store owners say the violence over the past weekend could signal shoppers to stop coming downtown and affect everyone’s bottom line.

Over the July 4 weekend in Chicago, massive crowds wreaked havoc, injuring two police officers and resulting in more than 60 arrests.

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“We are really lucky that no one was murdered in the loop,” Ald said. Brian Hopkins.

Coupled with the violence of this summer, the viral images aren’t big tourist videos for the city.

“We have a national perception that has taken hold that Chicago may not be the safest place to visit right now,” said Robb Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Traders Associationnm “We have to sort this out. “

Karr officially asks for Lightfoot’s help, asking for a reassessment of what it will take to make the area safe, as images of chaos don’t inspire a family dinner or a date night downtown.

“You are not going to attract more than 55 million visitors a year to the city if they are concerned about safety,” he said.

They have been following the issues and concerns of business owners since the downtown deployment plan that kept officers stationed in the downtown area after two rounds of looting and unrest ended in June.

“We’ve seen organized retail shoplifting patterns continue around town,” Karr said.

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But it’s not just the city’s shopping district that’s feeling the impact. CBS 2 spoke to a downtown restaurant owner who always chooses to close early because he says locals don’t want to go out late.

“They just don’t want to take care of it,” said Dan Alberga of Bella Luna Bar & Pizza. “They just don’t feel safe.”

CBS 2 has been tracking vacancies in the city’s major shopping districts for months. And without a security plan, some say we might be following more soon.

“We hear concerns about whether they are going to stay or whether they are going to leave,” Karr said.

A look at the most recent figures in this police district shows that the people concerned are right. We have found that criminal sexual assault, robbery, theft and motor vehicle theft are all in place. With overall crime complaints on the rise in the same week and month last year.

The Chicago Loop Alliance has also weighed in on this, saying it is pushing the city to get more resources downtown as well:

“Safety is of the utmost importance to the Chicago Loop Alliance, and we continue to work closely with the Mayor’s Office, the Chicago Police Department and other city agencies to lobby for adequate resources to the downtown. We also continue to advocate for a public safety approach that addresses the root causes of crime and poverty in our city. We know the Loop needs to be a safe place to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and thrive into the future, so these issues are a top priority for our organization. “

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But the president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association is still waiting for the Lightfoot office to hold a meeting on these concerns.

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