Chicago’s top corporate leaders picked executives from Hyatt Hotels Corp. and BMO Bank to replace billionaire Jim Crown in the business community’s efforts to curb crime in the city.
(Bloomberg) — Chicago’s top corporate leaders picked executives from Hyatt Hotels Corp. and BMO Bank to replace billionaire Jim Crown in the business community’s efforts to curb crime in the city.
Mark Hoplamazian, chief executive officer of Hyatt, and BMO’s Eric Smith will co-chair a public safety task force that aims to help the city halve its murder rate and reduce shootings by more than 40% over the next five years. The group was previously led by Crown, who died in a racetrack accident earlier this year.
The task force is part of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago — which includes senior leaders from companies including McDonald’s Corp., Ulta Beauty Inc. and Morningstar Inc. working with the city’s police department, community groups and other stakeholders.
Chicago has been struggling with a surge in crime that has alarmed residents and businesses. Crime rates are up 32% this year and 54% since 2019, according to police data, with a spike in burglaries and car thefts.
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Some prominent leaders have expressed growing concerns over the impact of crime on their operations. Ken Griffin, the founder of hedge fund Citadel, said he was moving his company to Miami because of the violence, while McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski has said it’s become harder to attract talent to the Windy City. Terry Duffy, the CEO of CME Group, revealed that his wife was carjacked in broad daylight earlier this year.
The city’s new mayor, Brandon Johnson, who took office in May after running on a progressive platform, has faced criticism for being too slow in addressing the problem. Last month, he named Larry Snelling, a 30-year veteran of the police force and counter-terrorism chief, as police superintendent.
Johnson told business leaders at the Economic Club of Chicago on Thursday night that improving public safety is constantly on his mind.
“Are we headed in the right direction? Yes,” Johnson said during his speech. “Do we have a long way to go? Yes.”
Michael G. O’Grady, chair of the Commercial Club, said in a statement Thursday that the business community remains committed to helping reduce crime in Chicago.
“We believe that public safety is essential for a thriving city and we are eager to work with Mayor Johnson, Superintendent Snelling and all our partners to make Chicago safer for everyone,” O’Grady said.
–With assistance from Shruti Date Singh.
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