Confronting a murder wave that made 1992 the second deadliest year in Chicago's history, and criticism that he has not done enough about it, Mayor Richard M. Daley says he wants to block off streets in every ward as a way of discouraging criminals by limiting their movements.
The plan, which city officials hope to begin by the summer, will probably mean building concrete barriers at strategic points of entry to neighborhoods. Some opposition to the idea has emerged, with people saying they would be more afraid of being blocked in than relieved that criminals were blocked out. But a spokeswoman for the mayor said on Friday that the plan would not be imposed on any neighborhoods that strongly objected.Daley, in an interview published earlier this week, said, "It's about making the communities safer." He told The Chicago Tribune: "On some streets you can go for 14 or 20 or 30 blocks. We have to change that. When you have those types of streets, there's where you have drive-by shootings, there's where you have the rapists. So we're going to cul-de-sac the city - all the wards."
The mayor did not set a specific figure, but he said the cost would be small. Jim Williams, the mayor's press secretary, said a task force had been set up to study ways to put the plan into effect.
Daley and other top city officials were out of town for inaugural events in Washington most of the week and were not available to provide more specifics.