High profile crimes may scare some shoppers from Gold Coast - FOX 32 News Chicago

High profile crimes may scare some shoppers from Gold Coast boutiques

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The brazen burglars who broke into designer Jimmy Choo's new store likely don't care about the economic impact.

But some fear this and other recent high-profile crimes could scare shoppers away from the high-rent district.

No one was hurt during the 2 a.m. break-in. But about half the shoppers here on the Gold Coast come from out of state. After worldwide coverage of Chicago's 19 percent increase in murders this year, it's one more unwelcome story for local retailers.

RELATED: Thieves hit the Gold Coast Jimmy Choo, grab `large amount` of merchandise

Police patrolled in pairs past Jimmy Choo's Thursday evening, calming shoppers unnerved by news of the early morning robbery.

One shopper said she believes the break-in is enough to scare some people away.

"I think it probably does. But there are people who would be scared away, irregardless, from whatever incident they might find an excuse not to come down for," said Christine Dudley of Chicago.

Experts suggest some shoppers and tourists may already be staying away because of Chicago's reputation for violence.

"When I see people in the media in other cities, they always -- the first thing they ask me about is Chicago's crime," said Brigid Sweeney, of Crain's Chicago Business.

While that has likely slowed Downtown's recovery from the 2008 economic crash, signs of a comeback abound, including Burberry's multi-million dollar redo, and the arrival of boutiques such as Tory Burch and, in Oak Street's old Esquire Theater, Christian Louboutin. More big-name designers are scheduled to set up shop in 2013.

"The street is jumping unlike it's been jumping before. It's going to be an exciting season," said David Lampert, owner Lester Lampert Jewelers.

Still, Lampert, who runs a family jewelry business founded by his great-grandfather, told us he no longer leaves valuables in the window displays overnight. A few years ago, bad guys smashed and grabbed it all, a crime reminiscent of the burglary a few doors down at Jimmy Choo's.

Lampert says the rise in crime doesn't seem to be having much of an effect on sales or foot traffic.

"No, not at all. Not at all. We're having a good season," Lampert said. "Chicago's a great place to do business."

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