Chicago crime is scaring away business

(NewsNation) — McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski spoke out against crime in Chicago Wednesday, saying on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” he’s having trouble convincing employees to come back to the fast-food titan’s downtown corporate office.

The Windy City, known for its towering skyscrapers and deep-dish pizza, is now being viewed as one of the most crime-plagued major cities in the country.

“Everywhere I go, I’m confronted by the same question: ‘What’s going on in Chicago?” Kempczinski said. “While it may wound our civic pride to hear it, there is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis.”

Several major companies, including Boeing and Caterpillar, announced just this year they will be moving their headquarters out of the city.

And while McDonald’s has said it has no plans to follow suit, the downtown violence is creating major challenges for the corporation.

“We had to have conversations with city leaders about what we needed for McDonald’s to operate its restaurants, and it’s not something we can solve on our own. We need cooperation from public sector support,” Kempczinski said.

Statistics from the Chicago Police Department show robberies are up 18% and burglaries 28%, while theft is up a staggering 65%. On the flip side, murder and shooting incidents across the city are down this year. Overall crime, however, is up 38%

Throughout Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s time in office, polls show crime has ranked as the No. 1 issue for Chicago voters.

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With only five months before Chicagoans decide if they want to keep or dump their mayor, Lightfoot’s administration is desperately trying to highlight public safety improvements.

“Progress on violence can be slow, and at times can be frustrating. But we’re working on it day in and day out,” Lightfoot said. “And we’re seeing the fruits of those labors.”  

McDonald’s estimated that it had a total economic impact of roughly $2 billion on the economy of its home county, Cook County, in the 12 months from June 2021 to June of this year. And the building of the Chicago headquarters resulted in over 1,600 new construction jobs.