EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) -- Senator Dick Durbin (D, Ill.) is back in his native East St. Louis, pushing the mayor again to be more aggressive about fighting crime that's plaguing the city.
The senator wants Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. to permanently order the city's nightclubs to close earlier each day to try to blunt the crime Durbin and law enforcement officials believe is fueled by alcohol.
Durbin has said he wants the clubs to close at 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends.
He made his his latest challenge to Parks for the earlier closing times during a meeting Wednesday morning with local ministers and the U.S. Attorney for Illinois.
"We need to deal with that (clubs) in an honest, forthright, decisive way. Not weaving back and forth from a temporary closure here to a temporary closure there. Let's get serious about making this city safe," Durbin said after the meeting.
Parks has resisted such a move in the city of 27,000, insisting nightclubs and liquor stores are important businesses.
The decaying city suffers from crippling levels of poverty and crime.
"The city of East St. Louis struggles because it has limited resources, I understand all that," Durbin said. "But as one of the pastors said, 'we want to pull the weeds out by the roots...' It starts with the club scene, it starts with the liquor store scene."
U.S. Attorney for Illinois Steve Wiggington announced federal resources coming to East St. Louis this summer to help deal with gun violence. ATF agents are coming, but he didn't say how many.