(Chicago Tribune) 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.

“We hope this sunsets quickly because all the good work we’re doing regionally, nationally and internationally, if this is not contained in a reasonable period of time, it will have an impact,” Don Welsh, president and chief executive of Choose Chicago, said in a morning meeting withthe Chicago Tribune’seditorial board.

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.

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