This article is interesting (more appalling than anything but interesting none the less) because it brings up a factor that was clearly overlooked when the Safe Passage Routes were made. According to this article there are safe houses sheltering over 50 sex offenders along these safe passage routes. This highlights some important factors that I certainly would have never looked into if I was responsible for these routes.
The map referenced is from the Woodstock Institute. They are doing research on property foreclosures in Chicago. It illustrates the amount of vacant properties in blue and red flag properties in red. “Red flag” refers to vacant foreclosed properties that haven’t been sold or auctioned. These vacant properties present a safety challenge for people living in these neighborhoods. Buildings that are unoccupied support gang activity and squatters. With the closing of public schools, this presents a particular danger for children walking to school.
The QGIS map below represents the zoning boundaries in orange, TIF districts in green, purple dots are school locations, and blue lines are safe passage routes. Vacant properties present a safety concern for children going to schools. This is even more imminent with the recent public school closings. I am still retrieving the raw data on vacant buildings and “red flag” sites. According to a ABC Report, some of these vacant buildings are being torn down on the safe passage route to address these concerns, but things are moving at a slow pace through the courts and vacant buildings still remain on the safe passage routes. This is example of a larger issue within the city with abandoned and vacant buildings.
Abandoned and vacant buildings are being reported through the city 311 service, this data is reported through the Chicago Data Portal.