CHICAGO (CBS) — Business owners in the South Shore neighborhood say gangs and drugs have taken over the streets outside their shops. They say authorities are not doing enough to crack down on the criminals.
Some business have posted “No Loitering” signs on their windows because they say gangs and drug dealers are using the area to conduct their illicit activity.
Nick Balaskas started his restaurant 39 years ago. It’s a staple in the South Shore neighborhood, however, he’s worried about closing his doors for good if the crime outside his business doesn’t end.
“The real problem is drug trade and gangs,” said Balaskas.
The Greek immigrant shared surveillance video that he says shows gang members loitering outside the building he owns. He said it’s a daily issue the police and the alderman are not addressing.
“People will be afraid to come in here,” said employee Millie Starks. “They’re out there doing criminal activity, and then people, they’re shooting everybody. They not going to discriminate. They’re just going to shoot everybody that’s outside. All these shootings and killings we’re having around here, it’s senseless.”
CBS 2 found that in the first seven months of this year eight 911 calls were placed regarding shots fired, a person with a gun or gang activity on the block where the businesses are located.
Haroon and Victor are employees at a local barber shop located in Balaskas’s building, and they say the gang and drug presence outside their business only hurts the local economy.
“People come and do what they want here. They force customers not to come by. Police are not policing our community,” said Haroon.
CBS 2 contacted Ald. Greg Mitchell who represents the 7th Ward, and has not yet heard back regarding what will be done about the loitering and crime.
Chicago police told CBS 2 they recommend business owners attend the local CAPS business meetings, which are held every month.