December 27, 2012

City Demolishes More Than 250 Vacant Buildings in 2012 to Prevent Gang Activity in Neighborhoods

736 Buildings Demolished in 2012, Including 270 Targeted in Mayoral Initiative to Identify, Secure and Demolish Vacant Buildings

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today the Department of Buildings demolished more than 250 dangerous buildings in 2012 as part of the Mayor’s initiative to prevent vacant and hazardous buildings from being used by gangs as gathering places and havens for illegal activity.

“I am committed to using every tool available to fight crime and make Chicago’s streets as safe as possible for our families,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Since early July, the Chicago Police Department and the Department of Buildings worked to target vacant and hazardous properties for demolition to prevent them from serving as centers of gang and other criminal activity in our neighborhoods.”

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 October 29, the City announced it had demolished the 200th building as part of this initiative.

Under this initiative, the Department of Buildings and the Police Department, with references from community leaders and Aldermen, determined which buildings to demolish after prioritizing structures which received calls for service or were neglected and unsecured, as these buildings are obvious candidates to be used for illegal activities.

The plan focused initially in the 7th, 11th, 3rd, 8th, and 10th police districts and was later modified to include the 2nd, 4th, 5th 6th, and 15th districts.

This initiative is supported by $4 million in additional funding made available to the Department of Buildings in July 2012.  Overall, the Department spent a total of $14 million demolishing 736 buildings and boarding up 1,036 buildings across Chicago, representing increases of 60 percent and 20 percent, respectively, from 2011.