During the years, the increase of violence in the city of Chicago has reached higher rates than before. Currently, due to this increment, the economy of the area has had a decline since tourists have decided to go elsewhere for their vacations, making an impact in the hotel industry located in Chicago.
At the end of April of this year, shootings in Chicago reached a staggering 64% increase compared to the same period in 2021.
At a news conference, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot mentioned her worries over the growing number of young people that have begun to become part of criminal groups all over the city. Throughout the interview, Lightfoot assured the public that city officials had knowledge of the rise in criminal activity and are working on solutions in favor of the city.
In 2021, there were 139 shootings and homicides in Chicago, which was a 60% increase compared to 2020, which had 87 victims of both crimes. With shooting and homicide increases of 167% between 2019 and 2021, the heightened statistics are concerning amongst Chicago and Chicagoland residents.
Neighborhoods such as River North and The Loop are safer than anticipated, having one victim per 10,000 people, which is lower than that of the entire city, which is three per 10,000 residents. However, the neighborhoods that are in the South and West side of the city, have become some of the most dangerous during this year, having 12 to13 victims per 10,000 residents.
COVID-19 caused economic distress in 2020 and 2021. Tourism in Chicago was low and hotel owners hoped that once the lockdowns and restrictions were listed, Chicago would be booming again. However, with the increase in shootings and violence within the city, tourism isn’t seeing the increase that is expected.
“During the lockdowns, you will have seen an increase in crimes such as domestic violence, and after lockdowns were lifted, the crimes will rise again,” said Dr. Vesna Markovic, chair of Justice, Law and Public Studies.
The increase in violence is causing tourists to no longer garner the same interest to visit Chicago as they may have had before in fear of being a victim to a crime.
No tourists visiting Chicago means that hotels may start to have problems keeping their businesses afloat. This is a problem as Chicago’s economy heavily relies on the tourism industry.
During the month of May, when many are finishing up school and getting ready for summer vacation, Chicago fell far behind in the list of the cities in the U.S. with most hotel occupancy, getting the tenth place. Chicago only had a 57.3% rate of hotel occupancy in May. Around the same time in 2019, the city had an 81% occupancy rate.
Compared to New York City, which had a 77.6% occupancy rate in its hotels, the city of Chicago is falling behind, contributing to the hotel industry worries regarding what the future has in store.