Austin businesses suffer from crime, violence in community

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As theft and homicides have taken a toll on Austin residents, area merchants struggle, too, with concerns about the costs of fixing damaged property, replacing stolen goods and protecting themselves and customers from gunfire in the West Side community.

Part one of a three-part series from Crain’s Business Chicago, “Merchants in Chicago’s deadliest neighborhood are in the line of fire,” looks at how increasing crime and violence in Austin has affected area businesses.

Yesterday, AustinTalks reported the homicide count reached 20 over the weekend, an increase from 13 homicides during the same time period last year.

“My business has suffered because people don’t want to come to us. Last week, someone pulled a car into the lot next door and set it on fire,” Robert Finnegan, president of Prime Food Caterers, told Crain’s reporter Lorene Yue.

Malcolm Crawford and his devotion to developing a strong business community in Austin – is the subject of a related story Crane’s also posted this week. AustinTalks reported back in spring 2010 about Crawford’s interest in developing a business district in Austin featuring music clubs dedicated to jazz and blues as well as poetry spots and dine-in restaurants with African-American-themed menus.

Crawford is the executive director of the Austin African American Business Networking Association and owner of the Sankofa Cultural Arts & Business Center.





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