Shop owners threaten to close over uptick in violence in Park Manor

CHICAGO — An increase in violence in one South Side community has business owners asking for help, and threatening to close up shop and move out if things don't improve.

Haim Brody, the president of Market Fisheries, says his family has owned the popular fish market on 71st and State since 1957. But now he fears he may have to leave because of escalating violence, drug dealing and harassment of customers.

"We've had four shootings here in the last four days," Brody said. "It's just impossible to do business. We have open drug dealing on the street, open drug dealing, many numerous transactions here; we have little children walking to school have to go through all this stuff."

In scenes captured on tape, shoppers and community members walking near 71st St. are forced to take shelter or run away when shots ring out. Brody says 16 people have been shot on this block alone since the beginning of the year, and it's starting to take a toll on the businesses around him.  He and other business owners along 71st St. are fed up.

"It didn't just start, but it's at its highest peak of frustration now," said Park Manor Neighbors Community Council President Darlene Tribune. "We have good businesses that we don't want to lose."

Ald. Roderick Sawyer says he's frustrated too, pointing out he lives right around the corner. On Monday, he joined a local police commander and about 100 residents for a peace bike ride in the area. Only to have two people shot in the very spot where they rode two hours later. Ald. Sawyer says police are working on the situation.

"I want answers, but I know one thing: there's a cancer over there that we need to get cut out real fast" Ald. Sawyer said. "We're adding, beefing up patrols in the area and let's just say we do have ongoing, undercover operations consistently."