Added Apr 09 2012
The recently published Urban Institute report on the impact of CHA relocatees on crime rates has stoked tension in communities between CHA and non-CHA residents.
The report is very nuanced. The topline summary provided by the media has served to only confirm the worst fears of middle class residents of communities with CHA relocatees.
While media attention has been focused on the impact of CHA relocatees on crime rates, some points must be made. First, crime rates dropped across Chicago in the 2000s. Second, the amount of the reduction in crime in communities with CHA relocatees is related to the concentration of CHA relocatees. Communities with low numbers of relocatees experienced a larger reduction in crime rates than communities with high numbers of CHA relocatees.
More importantly, the report demonstrates that communities that converted traditional public housing to mixed income transformation sites experienced significant reductions in crime rates. For many years the Fourth Ward has had traditional public housing projects such as Washington Park, Ida B. Wells, Madden, Darrow, and Lake Michigan Homes. The CHA transformation plan has converted traditional public housing into mixed income developments.
Mixed income housing disaggregates toxic concentrations of poverty, increases the median income of neighborhoods, grows population density, and spurs retail development.
Current and future mixed income housing developments in the Fourth Ward require drug testing for all residents, regardless of income, and prospective tenants submit to a rigorous selection process.
Finally, I have made it clear to CHA in public and private meetings that lease provisions must be enforced and that CHA residents who fail to comply with their leases must be evicted.