Park Forest Police Credit Crime Free Housing Ordinance with Marked Drop in Calls for Service

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Park Forest Police Department credits the Village’s Crime Free Housing Ordinance with a marked drop in calls for service in 2009 compared to 2008. According to Chief Thomas Fleming, as of the July 19, 2009 neighborhood meeting at Hope Lutheran Church, police have seen 1,800 fewer calls for service than during the same period in 2008.

According to Deputy Chief Mike McNamara, the 1,800 call drop is “across the board.”

A Call for Service is any request for service or assistance received by the police department and recorded by SouthCom Dispatch, whether or not a crime has occurred. Calls for service may or may not generate a police report depending on the nature of the call.

“We’re attributing it to Crime Free Housing, making landlords more aware of who their tenants are, that they are responsible for their tenants,” McNamara said.

The Deputy Chief said that when landlords go through the Crime Free Housing seminars, they learn how to find better tenants by doing backgrounds checks on them.

“We’re also attributing it to when the Cook County Sheriffs [Police] came in and did the sweep in the center of town,” McNamara added.

Park Forest adopted its Crime Free Housing Ordinance in September 2007. All landlords are required to add a “Crime Free Housing Lease Addendum” to each rental contract with the intention of eliminating criminal behavior and/or “nuisance housing,” according to police.

The Crime Free Lease Addendum is used for all residential leases, providing landlords the mans to evict tenants involved in criminal behavior. Each landlord is required to attend a six hour seminar conducted by the Police Department.

Landlords who refuse to comply with the provisions of the ordinance face removal from the program and a potential $1,500 per day fine. Presently, there are over two thousand rental properties in Park Forest. More than 600 landlords are part of this community policing project, according to police.

Some material for this article was adapted from the Village of Park Forest 2009/2010 Budget.