City Vows to Fight “Cancer” in Neighborhoods; Vacant Buildings to be Boarded or Razed

Four million dollars allocated to deal with nearly 200 vacant buildings

Chicago officials are going to start boarded up or tearing down nearly 200 vacant buildings as part of their anti-gang strategy.

"These vacant buildings are where gang bangers are hanging out, and drug dealers are hanging out, and they’re operating in those buildings,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

He said the city was allocating $4 million to the Department of Buildings to take action on nearly 200 properties.

Police have for the last few years expressed concerns about the growing number of buildings that were abandoned during the nation's financial crisis -- saying the gang members use them to hide from authorities and stash guns and drugs.

The initial focus of the building plan will be in the 7th, 11th, 3rd, 8th, and 10th police districts. It is complemented by the city’s recent crackdown on liquor stores and convenience stores that have been used by gangs as hangouts and centers for illegal activity.

Emanuel said the move was just another tool to destroy gang organizations. Last month, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a bill backed by Emanuel and police Supt. Garry McCarthy to treat gangsters like mobsters.

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