Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the Department of Buildings is demolishing the 200th dangerous building as part of the Mayor’s initiative to identify, secure and demolish vacant and hazardous buildings to stop gangs from using these structures as gathering places and centers for illegal activity. The vacant building at 13 East 113th Street is one of several buildings in the Roseland Community that have been demolished since early July.
This initiative is a coordinated, focused effort between the Chicago Police Department and the Department of Buildings to reduce the number of vacant buildings that serve as hubs for violence and hives of gang activity. On August 31, the City announced it had demolished the 100th building as part of this initiative.
“Demolishing these buildings prevents them from serving as hubs of illegal activity and eliminates a blight on our communities,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Since early July, the Chicago Police Department and the Department of Buildings have worked together to reduce the number vacant and hazardous properties, preventing criminal activity in our neighborhoods.”
As part of this initiative, the Department of Buildings and the Police Department determine which buildings to demolish after prioritizing structures that have received calls for service or have been neglected and unsecured, as these buildings are obvious candidates to be used for illegal activities.
The Department of Buildings has already spent an estimated $3 million to demolish or board-up and secure vacant buildings that are on CPD watch lists because they are sites where known gang members and criminals are repeatedly found. The Department of Buildings is also boarding up and securing properties that are known gang havens but are structurally sound and can be eventually put to good use. That use will be determined through increased coordination between the Department of Buildings and the CPD.
The initial focus of this plan was in the 7th, 11th, 3rd, 8th, and 10th police districts and was later modified to include the 2nd, 4th, 5th 6th, and 15th districts.