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A business owner in Chicago, Illinois, told Fox News Digital that skyrocketing crime in the city has forced him to stop doing business in town, adding to the list of people and businesses who have fled Illinois over the past two years amid rising crime.
Gary Rabine, founder of the Rabine Group and owner of 13 companies, told Fox News Digital this week that rising crime in Chicago was a major factor in his decision to pull his road paving business from the city after his teams have been repeatedly robbed, sometimes out in the open, even after tightening job security.
“We were doing thousands of jobs a year in the city, but as we were getting robbed, my people who were using rollers and cobblestones, we were getting robbed, our equipment was being stolen in broad daylight and there was usually a gun involved, and it got expensive and it got dangerous,” Rabine told Fox News Digital.
Rabine said the added cost of security and insurance for the “thousands” of jobs in the city each year ultimately made jobs cost “twice as much as they should be.” Rabine explained that the higher costs ultimately hurt taxpayers, many of whom have modest financial means, who ended up paying more for public services.
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“What finally happened was that we said enough was enough,” Rabine said. “We stopped working there, we stopped working for the gas company, the electric company, the south side, the west side and eventually all over Chicago. These companies are now working in other places. They work across the border in Wisconsin, the outer suburbs of Chicago, where they feel safer.”
Last week, billionaire Ken Griffin announced that he move his hedge fund company Citadel Securities is leaving Chicago after citing crime as a top concern in recent months.
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“If people aren’t safe here, they won’t live here,” Griffin said. told the Wall Street Journal in April. “I’ve had several co-workers assaulted at gunpoint. I’ve had a co-worker stabbed on the way to work. Countless burglary issues. I mean, it’s a really tough environment to attract talent in your city.”
Rabine told Fox News Digital that Citadel’s downtown location and the crime that has become prevalent there most likely impede Citadel’s ability to hire and retain talent.
“I’m convinced Citadel was losing people,” Rabine said. “And I guess 50, 60 percent of those people, maybe more, were raising their hands and saying get me out of here.“
Rabine added: “If you want a good culture in your company, you have to have people who like being part of the team and who don’t want to live in a violent neighborhood. They don’t want to live in a place where their children cannot safely walk to school and their wives and children cannot shop in beautiful surroundings like Michigan Avenue, which was once the safest place to shop .”
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Along with Rabine and Griffin, other companies made the decision to pull out of Chicago amid skyrocketing crime in the city.
Construction and mining equipment giant Caterpillar announced this month that it is move sound Headquarter from Deerfield, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, to Irving, Texas, just outside of Dallas.
“Illinois recently faced a double punch of uprooting from Caterpillar and Citadel for red states,” Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, told Fox News Digital. “To stop the exodus and protect their economies, blue states should copy the good policies of red states and make their states safer and more economically conducive.”
Global aerospace company Boeing also announced in May that it was moving its headquarters from the Chicago area to Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
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In addition to businesses leaving the state, Illinois lost a higher percentage of residents than any other state in 2021, according to a survey by the Allied moving company.
Illinois Policy Institute, a nonprofit libertarian think tank, published in a study in December that “more Illinoisans fled to other states from July 2020 through July 2021 than in any other year in recorded history.”
While many factors, including taxes, coronavirus lockdowns and the cost of living, contributed to the declining population, Rabine told Fox News Digital that crime was a major driver and blamed the Democratic mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, and Democratic Governor JB Pritzker.
“Lightfoot is a lousy leader,” said Rabine, who ran for governor as a Republican in Illinois’ recent gubernatorial primary. “She’s not standing up for the community at all.”
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Rabine also pointed to the damage he did to Pritzker by signing a controversial criminal justice reform bill that ended cash bail and was condemned by various law enforcement officials.
“We have to get this governor out,” Rabine said. “He’s a socialist democrat, an ugly leader and a terrible American.”
The offices of Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.
chicago police reported 44 shootings with at least 61 injured victims from 6 p.m. Friday to Monday during the recent June 19 holiday weekend, according to statistics released earlier this month. The department also recorded that 10 people were killed over the long weekend.
Last month, data showed that the number of violent crimes reported in Chicago was up 35% from last year’s number during the same period.