CHICAGO (CBS) – Tired Chicago business owners are going directly to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx to demand answers on violent crime.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported on Tuesday night, the big question for business owners is why repeat offenders seem to return to the streets so easily.
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Everyone is concerned about safety – it’s number one. But the point the business owners wanted the state attorney to understand is that the way criminals are treated here ultimately affects the whole city and its bottom line.
Members of the city’s business community say flashing lights, police gangs and blocked crime scenes are all too common in Chicago‘s 77 community areas and 22 police districts.
“We want to be the voice of every neighborhood,” said Sam Sanchez, chairman of the Illinois Restaurant Association board of directors.
But it wasn’t just the rise in crime that worried business leaders when they called a meeting with state attorney Kim Foxx. This is what happens when the Chicago cop cars leave and the gang falls – especially when it comes to repeat offenders …
“Whether it’s gun violence, shoplifting, car hijacking – and why it takes so long for someone to do a long time,” said Maureen Martino, Executive Director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. “Otherwise, there is no consequence to the crime.”
Martino said there will be consequences if something doesn’t change.
“People won’t want to invest,” she said. “Sure, retailers are moving – and we need to look at what we can do to keep our neighborhoods vibrant. “
These are some of the same concerns that Jaime di Paulo, president and CEO of the Hispanic Illinois Chamber of Commerce, shared with us and the state attorney.
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“We have to close earlier. We need to put more cameras, ”said di Paulo. “And frankly, criminals are not afraid of anything. More cameras? They don’t care.
Their concerns are reflected in the numbers. We pulled out the latest crime statistics, and they show murder is at its highest rate, citywide, since 2017.
So far this year alone there are 4,032 shooting victims in the city. We took the numbers back to 2010 – it’s the highest we’ve seen.
But when it comes to change, business representatives said the state attorney has established a stronger partnership with the CPD as a solution to the problem of repeat offenders.
“If our attorney general integrates his office in the police with the police commanders and they can identify the criminal, and as a repeat offender, then they would know who is a danger to society and can keep them off the streets.” , Sanchez said. . “That’s the point.”
But the prosecution did not discuss this objective with us, despite our questions. The office only issued this statement:
“The Cook County State Attorney had a productive meeting with leaders of the business community today to discuss ways to prevent crime and improve the image of Chicago and Cook County. We hope to continue to meet regularly. We share the goal of portraying Chicago as the world-class city that it is.
The state attorney’s office also shared data on felony charges this year through October 31. The office said that out of 8,584 felony cases, 7,383 had been approved for felony charges – for an 86% approval rate. A total of 11,510 cases were prosecuted and 6,926 were convicted, a rate of 60%.
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The Chicago Loop Alliance also released a statement explaining why the meeting with the state attorney’s office was requested with respect to the downtown area specifically:
“Chicago Loop Alliance is always seeking to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by offices and departments responsible for keeping the city safe. We meet with the state attorney’s office to learn and collaborate, just as we do regularly with our contacts in the mayor’s office, Chicago Police Department, etc. The Loop is a major economic driver for the region, and we look forward to continuing to work together, as we always have, to keep it vibrant and welcoming.
As noted by the public prosecutor’s office, the following business leaders were part of the meeting:
• Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association
• Sam Sanchez, Chairman of the Board, Illinois Restaurant Association
• Rob Karr, President and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association
• Michael Jacobson, President and CEO, Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association
• Gus Drosos, Board Member, Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association
• Brad Tietz, vice-president, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
• Michael Edwards, President and CEO, Chicago Loop Alliance
• Ian Tobin, Director of Planning and Advocacy, The Magnificent Mile Association
• Rich Gamble, Chairman of the Board, The Magnificent Mile Association
• Maureen Martino, Executive Director, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce
• Jasper Robinson, Vice-President, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce
• Jaime di Paulo, President and CEO, Hispanic Illinois Chamber of Commerce
• Craig Chico, President and CEO, Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council
• Dan Arce, Chairman of the Board, Little Village Community Foundation