CHICAGO (CBS) — The president of a Chicago-based property management company issued a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday – saying residents and building staff do not feel safe amid civil unrest, looting, and crime in the city, and blamed the city for a lack of support.
The letter was issued by Steven P. Levy, president of the Sudler property management company. The company represents more than 100 local condominium associations, more than 22,000 homeowners, and about 38,000 residents.
Levy wrote that ensuring the wellbeing of his tenants is one of his primary duties, and he said that responsibility “has been made much more difficult in recent months due to the lack of responsiveness and support from the City of Chicago.”
He wrote that the residents he represents are afraid enough of being a victim of violence in the city that they have changed their daily routines and are in many cases thinking of moving away.
“The homeowners we represent do not feel safe. From Hyde Park to the Gold Coast to Edgewater, residents across the city are adjusting their daily routines out of fear. They’re avoiding neighborhood walks after 6:00 p.m. At night, they don’t stand too close to their windows or dare to enjoy their outdoor balconies or terraces. Their children, who will likely be homebound for the remainder of the year, are forced to play indoors because local parks and playgrounds have been inhabited with litter, vandalism, and crime,” Levy wrote. “This is not a way to live, and I can’t fault homeowners when they tell me they’re considering leaving Chicago.”
Levy also wrote his property supervisors and managers, as well as unionized door, janitorial, and valet staff, have been hampered in their ability to do their jobs.
“Staff have fearfully traveled through downtown in the middle of looting sprees just to report to their shifts on time. They’ve dragged dumpsters in front of doorways as additional blockades, rehearsed and implemented lockdown procedures, called 911 on repeat, and for some, have been face-to-face with criminals threatening violence,” Levy wrote.
Following hours of destruction during looting, staff have also had to sweep up broken glass in building lobbies as residents placed worried calls, the letter said.
Levy wrote he was demanding change on behalf of tens of thousands of people.
“We need to you to fulfill your duty of ensuring the well-being of all Chicago residents,” the letter said. “Without an immediate change, I’m concerned that homeowners will flee, properties will stand vacant, business will fail, and the Chicago we both know will be a shell of what it once was and what it could be.”
The Mayor’s office issued a statement insisting the city is taking action:
“There is no higher priority for the City than ensuring the safety of all Chicagoans and their communities, which is why Mayor Lightfoot is utilizing every last City resource to not only prevent looting but ensure those who commit the kinds of criminal acts we saw on Monday are brought to justice. As part of the City’s neighborhood protection plan, the Chicago Police Department has continued working with all City departments and agencies to ensure that Chicago’s communities, as well as its downtown area, have the police resources and infrastructure assets, which includes salt and tow trucks, needed to stay safe and protected. This includes deploying a heavier police presence along Chicago’s shopping districts, restricting access to the downtown area overnight, deploying more than 100 Transportation, Streets and Sanitation and other infrastructure trucks and resources along our commercial corridors.
“On top of establishing a special team of detectives to identify suspects, stolen merchandise and ensure offenders are held accountable, the Department is also already impounding vehicles involved in the looting on Monday. We will continue to work closely with local businesses, property management companies and residents to ensure their concerns are not only addressed but additional safety and security measures are in place to prevent any further looting and civil unrest.”