Chicago Housing Violence

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While many people look at Chicago and see the gleaming skyscrapers amidst the backdrop of Lake Michigan, people tend to ignore areas in the South Side of Chicago that are rampant with violence and overall neglect. To compound this ignorance, there is a dense concentration of minorities, such as African Americans, in areas with increasing amounts of violence. Because of the correlation between elevated levels of crime and high concentrations of minorities, many people often incorrectly associate criminal actions with minorities. According to many sociological reports, such as “Adolescents, Neighborhoods, and Violence: Recent Findings From the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods” by Liberman, the truth is that social and environmental …show more content…
Initially, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) built high rise public housing projects, such as the Cabrini-Green Homes and the Robert Taylor Homes, to accommodate large of immigrants and returning war veterans after World War II. Initially these were effective, state of the art housing complexes that provide cheap housing for people of a variety of socioeconomic classes, ranging from the poor to middle-class, working families. Over time, however, due in large part to a lack of funding and overall neglect by the CHA, many of the units in the public high rise housing projects fell into a state of disrepair, leading to the flight of many middle-class families away from these housing projects. Housing projects often lacked basic services such as garbage removal, and the physical structures in many housing units were severely damaged and beyond repair. The inhabitants who remained in the projects were often the poorest of the poor; in addition, a significant majority of the housing project inhabitants were of African American heritage. With a high concentration of poverty now present in the public high rise housing projects, the projects became breeding grounds for violence, crime, drugs, and gangs. The high rise housing complexes of Chicago often contained some of the highest rates of crime in the entire U.S.A.; given this decrepit state, the exorbitant murder rate found in the projects drew constant national constant media attention. The plight of life in the projects was so publicized in the national media that Jane Byrne, the mayor of Chicago from 1979-1983, briefly moved into a unit in the high rise housing complex in order to gain a firsthand look at life in the projects. Life in the projects was extremely problematic, and the housing projects existed in a constant state of turmoil after being neglected by governmental authorities for

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