Park shooting thrusts Chicago into international spotlight - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Park shooting thrusts Chicago into international spotlight

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The two dozen shots that rang out in Cornell Square Park Thursday night echoed across the globe, making headlines on newspaper websites like the Times of London, The China Daily, and the International Herald-Tribune.

The stories all focus on Chicago's reputation as murder capital of the United States and the seeming inability of police and politicians to stem the tide of violence.

So, we found a half dozen people from all four corners of the world on Michigan Avenue Friday and asked a simple question about their home country.

"Probably my mom is gonna call today and say ‘How are you? Are you safe?'" Rodrigo Jacobucci from Brazil says. "‘Yeah, okay. I'm far from it. It was just like a gang fight and I'm okay.'"

"In China, people don't have guns, so such things won't happen. Especially, I'm from Shanghai and compared to what I know from the news of Chicago, I think Shanghai is much safer," Chinese student Buwei He told FOX 32 News.

But a surprising number of foreign visitors and tourists said Chicago's crime problem pales in comparison to what they face back home.

"People in Brazil tend to think that here it's a place that's really better in terms of security," Brazilian Nicolas Zanluchi explains.

"I don't feel that scared because I know there's a system in place," Tamkinad Rauf from Pakistan says. "There's a good legal system. We trust the police. It's not like that where I come from. That's a very foreign concept."

The news of Thursday's mass shooting also reached the White House, where a spokeswoman said in a statement:

"The President was dismayed to learn of yet another deplorable act of gun violence, this time in his hometown of Chicago. He sends his thoughts and prayers to the several victims who were shot last night and hopes for their speedy recovery. The President remains committed to pushing Congress to pass commonsense measures and is doing everything in his executive power to reduce gun violence."

Despite the local and national news, it doesn't appear the bad press is having any impact on foreign tourism in Chicago. In fact, the city saw a 14% increase in foreign visitors in 2012, making it the 9th most visited city in the United States. Mayor Emanuel has set a goal of putting Chicago in the top five by 2020.

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