Does Crime Free Housing Really Work?

Does Crime Free Housing Really Work?

Does crime free housing really work? The short answer is yes and no. A great idea has been perverted by local city councils into a fund raiser. Houses don’t cause crime. People cause crime. If you are renting to a criminal I know you want them out before they trash your place or cause any more damage to the neighborhood.  What can we do short of  a total government takeover and violation of our civil rights to solve this issue? How about if we are asked to violate the tenant’s civil rights in order to comply with the Crime Free Housing laws?

What should we do? That’s the problem! Do you want to spend a little more time and effort screening your future tenants, or would you rather pay a $25.00 Licensing fee in the hopes that the police will fix what you can’t? Yes, Licensing Fee, that is exactly what one local official called it.

For me the answer is I want to do better and I want the tools to do so. Tools cost money.  How much does it cost before we have to work a third job? If real estate investing is your second job,  what must you do to support your habit? We need to identify the tools.

Did you know there is no such thing as the average real estate investor? We are all so different from one another it gets a little amazing. Did you inherit your first unit, get married and have an extra home, decide you wanted to put your kids in private school or did you jump in with blinders on hoping to be Donald Trump in 48 days or less? In truth the real estate investors are all of these things, and many more.

Unfortunately the public’s perception seems to be that we are all greedy slumlords. Granted some slumlords exist. They are the minority, but they catch all the limelight. Since we are not in the news, it is reasonable to believe that we are not members of that class. Because of this misconception we need to change the public’s perception of who a landlord really is.

The Professional Housing Provider Program (PHP) is designed to do just that. Those of you who are graduates and can use the PHP logo should be doing so. As  graduates you are also in a great position to become leaders in both our profession and in the public eye. Your phone calls to politicians, letters to the editor and public speaking are the inroads we need to begin climbing the first hurdle of being seen as investors and not as so many politicians would classify us, as detractors.

Let the public know the dangers we face and the risks we take. One of the founders of the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association was murdered while working at one of his rental units just a few years ago.  Besides those that either loved, knew or respected him, who is crying over having one less landlord? Not a soul at city hall.

Let the powers that be know that we risk everything to buy, rehab and make livable the worst house on the street. Tell everyone we create jobs and put wealth back into the communities we serve by buying locally. Inform them that we take derelict property off the disabled list and return it to the tax rolls. Make them understand that a rented home is charged one and a half  times the real estate tax that an owner occupied home must pay?

Does the previously mention “them” know that many landlords pay more in annual real estate taxes than some families earn in a year. Do they know that most of the school, police and fire budgets are funded by real estate taxes generated by rental property? If not, why not?

Do they know that you only make a profit for the year or the month if nothing goes wrong? Can you remember thinking, “Wow $75.00 a month in cash flow, this place rocks!”? Do your friends and neighbors even know what cash flow means?

Many claim they don’t want us, but they could not exist without us. Along with churches and other civic organizations we are the backbone of every community we serve? Don’t believe me, close all the rental housing down and most cities would be ghost towns in short order.

We are the community leaders! We must stand up and be heard! Or like health care the government will soon be back in the housing business on a full time basis. With the government back in charge we can look forward to a return to the days of Prutt-Igoe.

Crime Free Housing vs the government and Pruitt Igoe

Here is the question. Does crime free housing really work? When run by the government, the blatant and obvious answer is a loud and resounding NO!

For those of you who don’t remember that fiasco, Pruitt–Igoe was a massive housing project that opened in 1954 in the city of Saint Louis Mo. It was originally designed to be government sanctioned segregated housing with two partitions: Captain W. O. Pruitt Homes for the black residents, and William L. Igoe Apartments for whites. The site was bounded by Cass Avenue on the north, North Jefferson Avenue on the west, Carr Street on the south, and North 20th Street on the east.

Although the government hoped for a different resort the words Crime Free Housing and Pruitt Igoe are total polar opposites. Living conditions in Pruitt–Igoe began to decline soon after its completion. By the time of the construction of the Gateway Arch in the late 1960s, the complex had become internationally infamous for its poverty, rape, vandalism, murder, drugs, lesser crimes and the infamous bigotry of segregation.

All 33 buildings which comprised the Pruitt-Igoe complex were torn down in the mid-1970s. The end result was a multi-million dollar government sinkhole that collapsed under the weight of bureaucratic incompetence. All this occurred in only 20 years. The Pruitt-Igoe slum became a worldwide icon of urban renewal at its worst and public-policy planning failure at its greatest.

Does Crime Free Housing Really Work?

For more information about Pruitt Igoe check out this link.


We are back to the same question. Does Crime Free Housing Really Work? The answer is “only if implemented correctly”. It must be a joint effort between all property owners and residents in a community in combination with neighborhood watch and law enforcement. That means that owner occupants, property managers and their tenants must work together. both  It is a razor to cut through the red tape, not a bludgeon to beat landlords with.

For a thorough report on how it can fail check out the Sgt. Schriver Center report on “The Cost of Being Crime Free”:

If you want to let the government threaten you with Crime Free Housing do nothing. If you want to shape the future get involved in the process, stand up and be counted.

We shall all be united in the common defense, or we shall all suffer under the common tyrant!


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