Criminal Activity Near Chicago School Shutters 2 Businesses

Concerned parents say gang members hanging out on a Chicago street corner near an elementary school are a problem that needs solving—and an alderman says he knows how to do it.

The worried residents say the corner of West 43rd and South Rockwell streets in Brighton Park is a hotbed for criminal activity. Drugs are sold, passersby are taunted and children are right across the street at Shields Elementary School.

“I have had my kids in the car with me and they get scared,” says parent Veronica Pardon. “They will see them and say ‘Mom, let’s go home, the bad guys are out.’”

Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th, says he’s doing something about it by working with the city’s building department to shut down the market and taco restaurant on the corner.

“(The owner) is responsible for the kind of clientele he allows in and around his business,” Lopez said. “If he is not willing to address it, we will continue to hold him responsible for what he is doing to the neighborhood.

The final straw came Friday after a shooting left two people dead.

“This is a wakeup call, not only to him, but to all businesses in all of our communities that they have to be more responsible for how they impact our neighborhood,” Lopez said.

For now, both stores remain closed pending an appeal.

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