Park Forest Strengthens Crime Free Housing Ordinance

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Park Forest Village Board took action at its March 8 Regular Meeting to strengthen the Crime Free Housing Ordinance.

The Crime Free Housing Ordinance addendum is signed by the tenants making them aware of the prohibitions on committing crimes while a resident of rental property. The addendum prohibits the tenant, any member of the tenant’s household, any guest or any other person or persons associated with the tenant or his or her household, common areas or appurtenances from committing and quasi-criminal or criminal activity as defined by local, state or federal law.

According to Police Chief Thomas Fleming, recent Federal law allows enforcement of the Crime Free Housing prohibitions against criminal activity to include areas away from the residence, not merely “on or near.” In addition, the language defining rental property was amended to include “nonowner occupied property” as rental property. There have been several cases where owners state they own a property but let their children/relatives live there for free, so they are not technically “renting” the property. The ordinance was expanded to include residential properties that are non-owner occupied.

Technical changes to the ordinance follow in bold:

The tenant, any member of the tenant’s household, any guest or any other person or persons associated with the tenant or his or her household, common areas or appurtenances:

  1. Shall not engage in any quasi-criminal or criminal activity as defined by local, state or federal law, either on or off said residential real property;
  2. Shall not engage in any act intended to facilitate any quasi-criminal or criminal activity and/or obstruct or resist law enforcement against criminal activity, either on or off said residential real property;
  3. Shall not permit and/or allow the dwelling unit, common areas or appurtenances to be used for or facilitate any quasi-criminal or criminal activity as defined by local, state of federal law, either on or off said residential real property.

    Should the tenant, any member of the tenant’s household, any guest or any other person or persons associated with the tenant or his or her household, common areas or appurtenances violate any provisions stated herein, either on or off said residential real property, such a violation shall constitute material noncompliance with this lease and shall further constitute grounds for termination of tenancy and eviction.

Since original passage of the ordinance, there have been a dozen evictions from rental properties throughout the Village. Incidents and criminal actions which lead to evictions include narcotics, weapons, aggravated battery, burglary and child pornography. There are five pending evictions currently.

Police credit passage of the ordinance with a radical drop in calls for service over the past few years. In 2005, police answered 23,552 calls for service, in 2006, 19,674, and 20,191 in 2007. In 2008 there were 19,413 calls for service. Last year, the number dropped to 16,440.