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Crime Rates Surrounding the Chicago Housing Authority

The Chicago Housing Authority is the government agency that oversees all of the public housing initiatives within the city of Chicago.

In the 1960s an 70s, there was an influx in residents occupying housing projects such as Cabrini-Green, the Lathrop Homes, and the Henry Horner homes. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century there was an evident presence of crime and gang activity within the confines of these projects.

The city and state governments had to make a decision whether or not to keep certain housing projects running, in response to the high violent crime rates.

Many of the projects were closed throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, most notably the Near North Side’s Cabrini-Green and West Town’s Henry Horner Homes. There is a lot of evidence that supports the CHA’s decision to close these projects in hopes of combating violent crime. Many of the areas that formerly housed projects saw double digit percent decreases of violent crime at the former sites of housing projects.

However, many of the CHA projects are still functioning as subsidized housing show interesting statistics in terms of violent crime. Depending on neighborhood and demographics, the crime rate surrounding current projects may be high or low in contrast to the surrounding neighborhood.

The Urban Institute performed a study comparing the crime rates of neighborhoods that once held public housing before and after the projects were demolished. In areas of the city were CHA projects were present there was nearly a 60% decrease in these specific location. However, the overall city stats only decreased by 1%. If we look at each individual project it shows that the correlation between public housing and crime rates is not as black and white.

Susan Popkin, a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, suggests that the relationship between tearing down housing projects and minimizing crime has not lived up to its promise. “It has not lifted people out of poverty, it has not made them self-sufficient, and it has left a lot of people behind.”

There is definitely a need for tangible evidence that shows the crime rate either increasing or decreasing in the midst of a presence of absence of housing projects.

The map below highlights specific relationships between current and former housing projects and violent crime rates reported in the past 12 months.The statistics were provided by the Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Police Department.

Crime Rates Surrounding the Chicago Housing Authority

By: Kevin Massura

 

 

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.