DeKalb’s new Crime-Free Initiative incorporates clear protections for crime victims, including victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The program, which stiffens fines for landlords who allow crimes to occur at their properties, does not apply to domestic or sexual violence calls. This provision, required under state law, helps ensure that victims of these crimes are not discouraged from calling the police.
This protection is included as a provision of the ordinance, which comes before the City Council for a vote Monday. Its states specifically that the program does not include unlawful activity in a rented or leased property relating to domestic and sexual violence. This means the Crime-Free Bureau overseeing the rental program will not become involved in these calls; although, they will continue to be rigorously investigated by the Police Department.
Additionally, the ordinance extends protections to all crime victims, stating it does not cover police calls related to domestic violence, sexual violence, crime victims, child abuse or calls from disabled individuals, or calls on behalf of an individual in need of police services. Again, this ensures the program does not discourage calls to the police.
The ordinance also prohibits landlords and property managers from retaliating against or evicting a tenant because they were a crime victim or reported a crime. Landlords and property managers face a minimum fine of $1,000 for violating this rule.
The Crime-Free Initiative is part of the City’s strategy for addressing weapons-related offenses, which has also included additional police officers. It takes action against landlords who are allowing crimes to occur on their properties while having minimal impact on those who have created a safe place to live.
The City Council is set to vote on the initiative at their meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in the Yusunas Meeting Room at the DeKalb Public Library. More details on the program are included with the full meeting agenda, which can be found here.