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Chicago's extensive efforts to reinvigorate its convention and tourism industries could be damaged unless the city quickly defuses the violent crime wave that has exploded in its neighborhoods and nicked the downtown, the city's top convention and tourism official said Wednesday.News reports of several unprovoked attacks by youths in the Michigan Avenue corridor and of the surge in homicides in some impoverished Chicago neighborhoods are triggering concerned calls to Choose Chicago, the newly restructured not-for-profit agency that combines the city's convention bureau and its office of tourism and culture. The issue has gained national attention in The New York Times and other media. Chicago's mayor and police superintendent publicly defended their new gang-fighting strategy Monday amid growing criticism that the changes are failing and a big reason why the city's homicide rate has soared this year.After weeks of media reports about Chicago homicides – which so far are up nearly 38 percent from last year – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy defiantly said during a news conference that the gang strategies in place before McCarthy arrived were the ones that failed, not the new ones.
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