07/09/2012 04:04 pm ET

Chicago Shootings: City Targets 'Problem' Businesses As Gun Violence Continues

Following a weekend where 20 people were shot, none fatally, in Chicago, the city announced the names of 37 "problem" businesses that they say help breed crime by harboring gang activity.

The city hopes that the public shaming of the businesses -- including liquor stores, fast-food restaurants, gas stations and a concert venue -- will urge them to clean up their acts. Further, some of the establishments have either been fined or temporarily shut down, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"If we take out the bad businesses and make room for the good businesses, that may help the entire neighborhood," Jennifer Lipford, city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection spokeswoman told the paper.

The "flagged business" initiative was first introduced in April to help combat Chicago gangs, according to the mayor's office.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also on Monday announced that the city will spend $4 million either boarding up or tearing down 200 abandoned buildings citywide that the city says have served as bases of operations for area gangs, the Associated press.

"These vacant buildings are where gangbangers are hanging out, and drug dealers are hanging out, and they’re operating in those buildings," Emanuel said Monday, CBS Chicago reports.

Meanwhile, at least 20 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, none fatally, fewer than the previous weekend and half the total of shootings the same weekend last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the numbers were a sign that the city's strategies to battle gangs and reduce gun violence citywide are seeing results, the Sun-Times reports. But the city still has a lot of work to do, he added.

"Every single neighborhood – if it’s Woodlawn, if it’s Englewood, you name it, Lawndale – every part of this city has to become safe," McCarthy said Monday, according to CBS.

The city is coming off a bloody week, including nearly 40 known shootings on and around the Fourth of July holiday. The unrelenting gun violence prompted the city, last month, to launch a pilot partnership with anti-violence group CeaseFire.

Through June, homicides in Chicago are up nearly 38 percent, the Tribune reports.



Crime In Chicago