City Cracks Down On Businesses It Says Foster Crime

Aldermen Demand Faster Results

After yet another weekend of shootings, the city is pushing back, calling out 37 businesses that officials say foster crime. But aldermen are calling for more aggressive policing, including stop-and-frisk. Elizabeth Brackett reports on the crackdown on businesses; and Carol Marin and a pair of aldermen discuss amping up police tactics on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.

City departments will begin targeting businesses and abandoned buildings that serve as gang hangouts, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced Monday. The city will fine and potentially close businesses, and board up and raze abandoned buildings, where gang members gather. 

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But after another weekend of shootings, with 20 Chicagoans wounded across the city, aldermen in some of the hardest hit wards are pushing back, asking the mayor to bring back the citywide police strike units that would flood a high-crime area and suppress violence. Those units were disbanded, and many officers were reassigned as beat cops, as part of an effort to beef up community policing. 

"The strike teams have been dispersed throughout the entire city. They got special training in gang conflict, and now they’ve been reduced to beat cops," says Ald. Anthony Beale (9th.) "The numbers show it’s not working." 

Beale's ward has had 10 murders this year through June 30, up from six last year. 

The 20th ward has the most murders this year -- 20 -- up from nine last year. Beale and Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) discuss their critique of current police policy on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.

Emanuel responded to their criticism in a press conference earlier Monday, calling the strike forces only a temporary fix.

"I don't think coming in, swatting something down and letting it come back in two weeks is a way you strengthen a community," he said. "What it does it build up cynicism." 

But Cochran says many of the current beat officers are used to being administrative officers that are not engaged in the community.

"It doesn’t mean taking someone from a desk job and putting them in a patrol car, just to say that the numbers are there," he says.

Cochran wants to hire more police officers, bolstering beat cops and strike forces, but Beale says crime can be controlled by reallocating officers to his ward from safer, North Side wards. 

"If there’s no crime in a quiet community, is there anything wrong with letting me have 30 percent of their cops?" Beale says. "That’s not going to affect that community one way or the other. They’re sitting around not doing anything."

But both want the citywide strike forces back in their ward when crime is high, with their stop-and-frisk tactics that have spawned lawsuits in New York City alleging a violation of constitutional rights. Cochran says even his constituents are asking for more aggressive policing.

"That is a reflection of how our community is terrorized," he says. "They want the terrorists removed. If that requires aggressiveness, they have indicated that they are supportive of that." 

View a map of the businesses that officials say breed crime below:

View Flagged Businesses in a larger map


Lindsay Prossnitz contributed to this report.

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