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From left, Homewood Village Attorney Chris Cummings, Mayor Richard Hofeld, Trustee Barbara Dawkins and Village Manager Jim Marino receive a briefing from Police Chief Bill Alcott as police shutdown businesses in the village as a precaution against possible vandalism or looting. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Homewood officials declared an emergency early Sunday afternoon and ordered all businesses in the village to close until further notice after receiving reports that vandalism and possibly looting had occurred in nearby communities.

Flossmoor also issued an alert to residents, noting “Some businesses in Flossmoor have been closed as a safeguard. There is no immediate danger. These are precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our community members.”

Violence, vandalism and looting emerged in Chicago in recent days during protests over the killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Saturday ordered a business curfew be imposed in the city until further notice. 

Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld said village officials learned there had been vandalism in Country Club Hills, Lansing and other nearby retail centers and reports that stores on Halsted Street could be targeted. 

There was no immediate danger in Homewood, and the curfew does not affect residents, but as a precaution, Police Chief Bill Alcott urged residents to stay home, according to the village website and emergency texts and phone calls.

Police began blocking entrances to retail centers on Halsted Street early Sunday afternoon, and by 1:30 p.m. a number of store parking lots were beginning to empty. Traffic on Halsted was heavy and slow but kept moving.

There was no evidence of protesters or vandals, but Hofeld said the measure was taken keep people safe.

“Based on threats we’ve been made aware of in neighboring towns we’ve issued an emergency business curfew,” Hofeld said. “Our prime concern is the safety of our residents and store employees.”

He said he spoke with the mayor of Country Club Hills, who confirmed the Walmart store there had been damaged. 

“We’re doing our level best to prevent anything here,” Village Attorney Chris Cummings said. 

Hofeld said Homewood’s entire police force had been called to duty. 

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