Chicago tears down crime-ridden abandoned buildings to build safer communities - Photos

The city began demolishing a number of buildings in neighborhoods on the South and West sides Thursday, as part of a Mayor Rahm Emanuel-backed strategy to cleanse neighborhoods of gang activity.

Certain vacant buildings attract gang activity and violence, Emanuel contends, and they need to come down.

Some are in such disrepair that they need to be demolished, said Caroline Weisser, spokesperson for the city's building department.

But housing advocates, like the folks at Action Now, want the city to use funds from the infrastructure trust to rebuild neighborhoods.

Weisser could not say if the city would consider the idea.

"Creating vacant lots is not a solution, they're just as dangerous" said Charles Brown, an Englewood resident and Action Now member.

“I think it’s good, tons of people used to sit in front of the house,” countered Patrick Gillespie, who lives next door to the building that was demolished. “They used to have drug sales in the back and make about $100,000.”

This follows another crime-fighting initiative rolled out this week, in which businesses that flout city codes, and or attract or promote crime were added to a public list of  "flagged" businesses.

Photos by Lucio Villa.

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