Chicago’s stores are finally open after the latest pandemic lockdown, but now downtown residents are too scared to go out due to the surge in crime.
Violent crime and gun-related issues are now rife in Chicago, and there’s no explanation behind it.
"The truth is nobody knows exactly what is driving the increase," Roseanna Ander, founder of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, said. "It exacerbated everything, it magnified everything."
Another resident who’s lived in Chicago his whole life won’t step foot in downtown. "I work downtown so I'm here every day during the day, but I won't come down here at night or on the weekend," explained attorney Steve Burrows. “I've never felt more unsafe than I do now."
In the past week, Chicago’s had three mass shootings in as many days, and even council members aren’t happy with mayor Lori Lightfoot’s unfounded confidence.
“The police need to catch criminals. They need to stop planting flowers and building community gardens and start catching people committing crimes,” said council member Raymond Lopez.
Youths are to blame for the increasing levels of violence across the city, with shootings and carjackings hitting all-time highs. Is there a way to stop the crime and bring the numbers back to where they were before? Residents aren’t so sure.
“I don't carry a purse anymore,” says one resident. “I don't go into any parking lots. I can't go through a drive-thru because I'm so afraid. I don't wear jewelry. I can't live.”
With mayor Lightfoot’s most recent decision to disallow car chases and decrease foot chases, there’s little police can do. "The reality is our city is safe. I stand by that," claims Lightfoot, who’s been in office since 2019.
The lack of visitors to downtown Chicago is just another blow for the city that's seen so much violence over the past few years. With zero tourism from abroad, who knows how the city will fare going forward.
Will you be going downtown now the stores have reopened?