CITY OF CHICAGO ANNOUNCES MILESTONE IN PROGRAM TO FAST-TRACK DEMOLITION OF DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
100th Vacant Building in High-Crime Police District Demolished Less Than Three Months Following Program Announcement in February
As part of the city of Chicago’s ongoing commitment to protecting neighborhoods from criminal activity, the Chicago Police Department and the Department of Buildings today announced a milestone in the program to expedite the demolition of vacant buildings in high-crime police districts. The demolition of the vacant building at 6447 S. Honore St., located in the West Englewood community and the 7th Police District, marks the 100th building demolished since the expedited program was launched earlier this year.
“Demolishing these dangerous buildings helps prevent illegal activity and removes eyesores that impact entire neighborhoods,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This program is another example of our commitment to using every tool available to bring safety to every neighborhood across Chicago.”
The CPD and the Department of Buildings diligently work together each day, with input from elected officials and community members, to identify, demolish and secure vacant buildings that serve as hubs for violence and gang activity. Since this program was launched, the city has completed 100 demolitions and boarded up and secured more than 1,000 buildings. Fast-tracked buildings are located on a block with documented criminal activity; the buildings’ owner is absent or not taking responsibility; and the structures are unsound and are marked by years of deterioration beyond repair.
“By demolishing these buildings we are removing safe havens for illegal activity that is fueling the violence in Chicago,” said Superintendent Johnson. “As I’ve often said, we all have a part to play in making our city safer, and the removal of these sites is an important step toward that goal. The Chicago Police Department will continue to take proactive measures to fight crime and keep our neighborhoods safe for residents across the city.”
This latest move to expedite the demolition of buildings complements ongoing efforts by the city to disrupt the cycle of violence in a number of neighborhoods. Over the past few months, under the new Summary Closure Ordinance, the CPD has also closed 11 businesses that were the sight of shootings and murders in order to expedite safety planning and other measures to make conditions safer. The Police Department has also conducted a series of targeted raids in areas that are problematic, resulting in the seizure of guns, cash and drugs; taken more than 3,100 guns off the streets since the start of this year; and decentralized gang and enforcement police units so that they are better able to make enforcement decisions.
“This program is a top priority for our department and we will continue to expedite the demolition of these dangerous and hazardous buildings and remove them from our neighborhoods as quickly as possible,” Building Commissioner Judy Frydland said.
The city has also implemented its Large Lot initiative, which aims to help property owners, block clubs and non-profit groups in select neighborhoods purchase city-owned land for $1 per parcel. Many owners buy lots in order to stabilize neighborhoods, control public access to properties and prevent loitering. More than 400 applications were submitted for approximately 4,000 available lots in greater Englewood, and to date approximately 300 were sold.
The city of Chicago requires that an owner of a vacant building register the building with the city once it is vacant for more than 30 days. Each owner of a vacant building is also required to secure, insure and maintain that building as required by ordinance. Registration must be renewed every six months. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in significant penalties. Residents are encouraged to call 311 to report a vacant and troubled building and a building inspector will be sent out to investigate the concerns.