In an effort to address liquor and convenience stores that were gang hangouts in neighborhoods overrun by shootings, drugs and violence, the city of Chicago is using aggressive tactics – revoking business licenses, temporarily shutting down or fining businesses that officials say are magnets for neighborhood crime.
According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, one convenience store in the West Rogers Park neighborhood has been repeatedly cited for selling loose cigarettes for underage teens, which is a practice that city officials say has led to loitering and complaints that the store is contributing to nearby street drug deals and violent crime.
City officials plan to unveil a list of 37 businesses – liquor and convenience stores as well as gas stations and fast-food restaurants – that will be punished for repeatedly failing to correct code violations, the article says. The West Rogers Park store is among them.
In choosing stores, the officials reviewed code violations for businesses citywide, focusing on repeat offenders, and then they checked those against a complaint database, the Chicago Tribune reports.
City Hall is also trying to shame business owners into compliance by publicizing their names, alleged violations and complaints about the businesses called in to 311, the city’s non-emergency call line, by neighbors, the article says.
So far, the effort has mostly identified businesses accused of poor upkeep or unsanitary conditions, although some were cited for selling liquor to minors, loose cigarettes or cigarettes lacking the Chicago tax stamp.