Chicago’s small businesses are struggling under a massive crime wave — even as Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces COVID-19 vaccine rules poised to hit their bottom lines.
According to statistics compiled by Axios, violent crime has increased by 7.5% since 2019 — including a 100% increase in fatal shootings for some neighborhoods. In response, Lightfoot approved a $411 million safety plan — which channels hundreds of millions toward public parks, health and wellness programs, affordable housing, and other initiatives that formulate a “holistic approach” to crime reduction.
Firsthand reports indicate that criminal activity is ravaging small businesses. For example, BFF Bikes owner Gillian Forsyth told CBS Chicago that a group of thieves ransacked her store on November 30 and December 13.
“They went for the more expensive bikes,” Forsyth said. “They kind of knew what they were looking for.”
“It’s frightening. It’s really frightening,” she continued. “They ran off down the alley next to the church here, and you can see them put the bikes in their car — and they just drove off.”
“When we’re like, as a small business, worried about constantly being robbed like that — we’re very easy to break into — and we’re not getting any response,” Forsyth added, “and I’m not blaming the police or anything — I’m sure they have a multitude of cases. There were five bike shops broken into in the space of two or three weeks. There doesn’t seem to be a collaborative effort, to solve this problem.”
Gold Coast Exotic Motor Cars co-owner Joe Perillo — whose luxury car dealership was raided by another pack of looters on December 11 — raised similar concerns to Fox News.
“When I went on the news, I said enough is enough. Those two words resonated,” Perillo said. “The phone calls started ringing in my dealership. My friends, relatives, people that I didn’t know. People that could get a hold of my number and they were saying enough is enough. I never realized that it has gotten to such a boiling point and no one [is] stepping out to say anything about it.”
As small businesses struggle to prevent crime, Lightfoot announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements for bars, restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, and entertainment venues.
“To put it simply, if you have been living vaccine-free, your time is up. If you wish to live life as w/the ease to do the things you love, you must be vax’d,” Lightfoot tweeted earlier this week. “This health order may pose an inconvenience to the unvaccinated, and in fact, it is inconvenient by design.”
We didn’t want it to get to this point, but given the situation we find ourselves in, we have no choice.
Beginning Jan. 3, you must show proof you are fully vax’d to enter bars, restaurants, fitness centers, and entertainment/recreational venues where food/drink are served. 🧵 https://t.co/Zelw59mXQ1
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) December 21, 2021
In other large cities, the burden of enforcing vaccine mandates has fallen upon police. For instance, a recent viral video depicted several NYPD officers arresting an anti-vaccine mandate protester at a Panera Bread in Brooklyn, New York.
NEW 🚨 Anti vaccine mandate protester arrested at Panera Bread which allows only vaccinated people to enter in its store located in Brooklyn, New York (🎥 @LeeroyPress)
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) December 19, 2021
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced that the city will give $100 to every resident who receives a COVID-19 booster shot by the end of the year.
“This will be by far the biggest booster incentive program in the United States of America,” de Blasio said. “This is the moment, come out in real big numbers, get those booster shots and help make your family safer and help make this whole city safer.”