A business owner in Chicago, Illinois tells Fox News Digital that skyrocketing crime in the city forced him to quit doing business in town adding to the list of individuals and businesses that have fled Illinois over the past couple of years amid surging crime.
Gary Rabine, founder of the Rabine Group and owner of 13 businesses, told Fox News Digital this week that surging crime in Chicago was a driving factor in his decision to pull his road paving company out of the city after his crews were repeatedly robbed, sometimes in broad daylight, even after adding security to the jobs.
"We would do thousands of jobs a year in the city, but as we got robbed more, my people operating rollers and pavers we got robbed, our equipment would get stolen in broad daylight and there would usually be a gun involved, and it got expensive and it got dangerous," Rabine told Fox News Digital.
Rabine said that the additional cost of security and insurance for the "thousands" of jobs in the city each year eventually caused jobs to cost "twice as much as they should be". Rabine explained that the higher costs ultimately hurt the ratepayers, many of them with modest financial means, who ended up paying more for utility services.
"What happened eventually is we said enough is enough," Rabine said. "We stopped doing work down there, we stopped doing work for the gas company, the electric company, the south side, the west side and eventually all over Chicago. Those companies now work in other places. They work over the border in Wisconsin, the outer suburbs of Chicago, where they feel safer."
Last week, billionaire Ken Griffin announced he is moving his hedge-fund firm Citadel out of Chicago after citing crime as a major concern over the past few months.
"If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here," Griffin told the Wall Street Journal in April. "I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from."
Rabine told Fox News Digital that Citadel’s downtown location, and the crime that has become prevalent there, was most likely causing Citadel to have trouble hiring and keeping talent.
"I’m confident that Citadel was losing people," Rabine said. "And I'm guessing that 50, 60% of those people, maybe more, were raising their hands and saying get me out of here."
Rabine added, "If you want a great culture in your company you have to have people that love being on the team and they don't want to live in a violent area. They don't want to live in a place where their kids can't walk to school safely and their wives and kids can't go shopping in a beautiful environment like Michigan Avenue which was once the safest place you could ever go shopping."
Along with Rabine and Griffin, other companies have made the decision to pull out of Chicago amid the skyrocketing crime in the city.
Construction and mining equipment giant Caterpillar announced this month it is moving its headquarters from Deerfield, Illinois, a north shore suburb of Chicago, to Irving, Texas just outside of Dallas.
"Illinois has faced a recent one-two punch of Caterpillar and Citadel uprooting for Red States," Alfredo Ortiz, President and CEO of the Job Creators Network, told Fox News Digital. "To stop the outflow and protect their economies, Blue States should copy the good policies of Red States and make their states safer and more economically friendly."
Global aerospace company Boeing also announced in May it is moving its headquarters out of the Chicago area to Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
In addition to companies leaving the state, Illinois lost a higher percentage of residents than any other state in 2021, according to a survey by Allied moving company.
Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian non-profit think tank, published in a study in December that "more Illinoisans fled for other states from July 2020-July 2021 than during any other year in recorded history."
While many factors including taxes, coronavirus lockdowns and cost of living have contributed to the population decrease, Rabine tells Fox News Digital that crime is a major driving force and places blame at the feet of Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
"Lightfoot is a lousy leader," Rabine, who ran for governor as a Republican in Illinois’ recent gubernatorial primary, said. "She doesn’t stand up for the community at all."
Rabine also pointed to damage he says Pritzker has done by signing a controversial criminal justice reform bill that ended cash bail and has been condemned by a variety of law enforcement officials.
"We have to get this governor out," Rabine said. "He's a socialist Democrat, a lousy leader, and a terrible American."
The offices of Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.
Chicago Police reported 44 shootings with at least 61 wounded victims from 6 p.m. Friday through Monday across the recent Juneteenth holiday weekend, according to statistics released earlier this month. The department also recorded that 10 people were killed during the extended weekend.
Last month, data showed that the number of reported violent crimes in Chicago rose 35% compared to last year's number during the same time period.