Many of the 1,318 cities and villages in Illinois have what are known as crime-free multiple-housing ordinances on their books.
Naperville isn’t one of them.
Still, Naperville police say they’re trying to be proactive, rather than reactive, when dealing with crime, overcrowding and other issues affecting those who live in and near the city’s numerous apartment and condominium complexes.
Toward that end, police are launching a “crime-free multi-housing program.” The initial seminar is set for 9 until 11 a.m. Saturday at the police station, 1350 Aurora Ave.
“The training that will be conducted is Phase One” of the program, police Cmdr. Lou Cammiso wrote Wednesday in an email. It will “mainly (deal) with background and credit checks” landlords and others can run when screening potential tenants, he said.
Crime-free multiple-housing ordinances vary in definition from municipality to municipality. In many cases, they allow for the eviction of tenants with serious criminal records, or those who move in and are later charged with engaging in prostitution or dealing in drugs or other contraband from their new homes.
Naperville years ago aimed to improve and strengthen relations between some of its residents and police by opening two police satellite offices. One was in a strip mall at North Aurora Road and Fairway Drive, on the apartment-dense northwest side of the city, and the other in the Naper Trails apartment complex on Bailey Road, in the near-southeast part of town. Both offices were later shuttered for budgetary reasons.
Cammiso took umbrage with suggestions that serious crime is on the rise in the Naper Trails area, following two robberies in a week at a 7-Eleven convenience food store on Bailey Road. He said police detectives have noted no significant spike in convicted criminals or street gang members moving into the area.
“As a matter of fact, 2014 crime reports are down 69 percent in that area, compared to the same six months in 2013,” Cammiso said. He added the suspects in the 7-Eleven robberies have been arrested and charged with those crimes, which he called a “relatively isolated” incident.
Not far to the west on Bailey Road is the bustling, privately-owned Olive Trees condominium complex. Cammiso said its association board “has made it a rule that anyone renting out their unit will go through crime-free multi-housing training, as numerous other complexes in the city do.”
Others have voiced concern city officials are either unaware of or ignoring rules concerning apartment and condominium occupancy limits, and that as many as seven people are living full-time in some units.
Naperville’s occupancy ordinance “is based on the number of rooms and/or square footage” of each unit, and “not just based on a number,” Cammiso said. “But it is conceivable that seven people may reside in an apartment or condo, depending on square footage.”
Cammiso conceded the city does not have a crime-free multiple-housing ordinance, and that he was “not sure of the reason. However, there may be some renewed interest in this from current officials.”
He argued the crime-free multi-housing program “is a good crime-prevention program, and we encourage voluntary compliance, in lieu of an ordinance.”
Cammiso added while Saturday’s meeting is open to the public, seating is limited. Those interested in attending must register in advance with police Crime Prevention Specialist Julie Smith, at 630-305-5450.Tags: Naperville Police Department