Chicago: Violent Crime, Open-Air Drug Dealing Have Business Operators in Fear

(CBS Chicago) Shootings, blatant drug dealing, and a rise in violent crimes has the head of the Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce sounding the alarm about the future of the businesses in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Tuesday night, she is also calling on the city and police to do more.

Some business owners in West Garfield Park said they are struggling to stay open and dealing with three factors – COVID-19, the looting that happened earlier during the summer, and a double-digit percentage spike in violent crime this year.

Drug deals are done right at the car window, and money exchanges hands over and over. Business on the street is thriving on Madison Street near Pulaski Road in West Garfield Park.

“They pretty much, they’re not afraid of the police,” said Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Siri Hibbler.

And they weren’t afraid of our cameras Tuesday afternoon as we saw the footrace for customers at one open-air market.

“Pull up there now in your car, and somebody will be probably be trying to hand you some drugs,” Hibbler said. “Coming up there is kind of like coming into a war zone.”

And while cash is flowing for the product, Hibbler is concerned about the brick-and-mortar stores that line the street.

“Our businesses are really starting to be more and more afraid in our community on Madison Street,” Hibbler said.

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