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As Gang-Fighting Tool, City Tears Down 200th Vacant Building

The city demolished its 200th building as part a plan to fight crime by destroying havens for gang and drug activity. (CBS)

The city demolished its 200th building as part a plan to fight crime by destroying havens for gang and drug activity. (CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A program designed to ensure gang-bangers have no place to hide, reached a milestone on Monday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday announced the demolition of the city’s 200th building.

Scores of vacant buildings have been declared dangerous under a program designed to shut down abandoned structures where gangs like to set up camp.

The latest building to fall was in the Roseland neighborhood.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks Reports

Leonard Buckhalter was relieved when the vacant house that once stood on the corner of 71st and Rhodes was demolished.

“They don’t hang out there no more. It’s not there,” Buckhalter said.

Another building was demolished in July down the block.

Chris Rowland who lives next door to the now vacant lot, said he was glad to see the building go.

“You get rid of the building and you get rid of the place where people hang out and do stupid stuff. You can’t hide in a vacant lot.”

Both Buildings were demolished in mid July. At the time records showed police had responded to the vacant building on the corner seven times in a year for drugs, trespassing and shots fired. Since then, police say there have been no calls, incidents or arrests at that address. However some still argue the demolished buildings have had little impact on crime in the neighborhood.

The demolition “crime fighting” program will continue. The city had budgeted 4 million dollars to tear down vacant properties. City officials say there’s about a million left.