Rantoul reconsidering crime-free housing program

The village of Rantoul can soon be the first in central Illinois to launch a housing program in an effort to reduce crime. (WCCU)

The village of Rantoul can soon be the first in central Illinois to launch a housing program in an effort to reduce crime.

“I think that's a great idea because there's a lot of families in the area with little kids,” resident, Judy Turner said.

The crime-free housing program is aimed at combatting serious crimes like murder or aggravated battery. After working on the initiative for more than a year, Rantoul police said they are ready for it to launch.

"I think it'll rip families apart,” resident, Zachary Jackson said. “It's just not good, I don't agree with it."

After the launch was delayed, Chief Tony Brown revisited the initiative and is now hoping the village board will adopt an ordinance implementing the program. Police said the crime-free housing program allows landlords of multi or single housing units to evict tenants if involved in serious crimes.

"I just think it's a bad idea because once you get evicted it leaves a bad mark on your rental history,” Jackson said.

Police said some of the serious crimes include homicide, robbery, sex offenses or aggravated battery and if a tenant is convicted, they will be evicted. Police said the housing program is 100 percent based on behavior after signing a lease.

"I want to know are landlords going to give you your deposit back if evicted?” Jackson said. “You have some people that are financially instable and they might not be able to bounce back to a new apartment that fast or be able to find a new apartment locally.”

Police said landlords will have to complete a 4-hour training session.

"People should definitely be punished for [crimes] and not allowed to stay around families,” Turner said. “It could be my neighbor it could be anybody and I can end up being the victim or my family members.”

Police said the goal of the housing program is to also increase communication between community members, landlords and police.

Rantoul village board will discuss the crime-free housing program April 17th.

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