Chicago Targets Small Businesses that Host Criminal Activity

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According to CBS, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy spoke about their anti-violence strategies on Monday but emphasized a new tactic that will target small businesses in the city that have become hosts to crime. While speaking on the South Side, the mayor commented on the crime problem plaguing the city. City officials also released an official and up-to-date list of 37 businesses throughout Chicago that are considered crime magnets.

Here are some facts about how the city is planning to target businesses that have become crime havens and what it'll mean for Chicago residents:

* The 37 cited businesses include several chain restaurants, like two Subway locations (816 N. State Street and 9518 S. Halsted Street) and two McDonalds (207 E 35th Street and 2609 S. Kedzie Avenue), noted Crain's Chicago Business.

* Numerous liquor stores, gas stations, produce markets, and grocery stores are also part of the list released today. But while the mayor referred to this list in his comments on combating businesses that host crimes, many of these locations have only been accused of health and safety violations.

* The mayor said of these businesses, "Businesses must serve as anchors in their communities, but some serve as conduits for criminal activity, and those are the businesses that we are targeting. Our communities must work together to identify problem businesses and remove them from our neighborhoods."

* The Chicago Tribune reported that the city's efforts to crack down on businesses stemmed from these locations serving as places for gangs to congregate in neighborhoods that are already suffering from violent crime problems.

* During this past spring, the city had forced four establishments to close their doors because of these repeated issues.

* The city is specifically revoking business and liquor licenses for violations that also include selling tobacco and liquor products to teenagers to not following laws regarding Chicago's required tobacco tax stamps.

* An article from USA Today added that some businesses are also being temporarily shut down by the city for repeated failing to correct violations.

* Jennifer Lipford, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said, "If we take out the bad businesses and make room for the good businesses, that may help the entire neighborhood."

* However some store owners spoke out against the alleged violations and the city's actions, saying that its difficult for them to combat loitering or minors having adults buy cigarettes for them while loitering outside of their establishment.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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