DeKalb’s crime-free housing program was a mess when they passed new rules in the fall


This is a follow-up to last week’s post, “DeKalb’s not following its own rules for training landlords.

I’ve received feedback since posting it that the training has been hit-or-miss for several years.

Also it turns out the landlord education fails are the tip of the iceberg. When new Crime Free Housing Bureau director Bob Redel started the job last November, nobody had been keeping up the landlord contact list or annual property registrations for quite some time. I know this because I recently asked for the quarterly performance reports required by the October 2022 amendments to the city’s Crime Free ordinance, and they’re available now via Monday’s city council consent agenda. Find them here.

Director Redel actually has been writing reports monthly, and it looks like the program lies finally in good hands. Rental property owners, property managers and other interested parties should know he’s developing an online version of the landlord training; the ordinance requires it and it should be a game-changer besides.

What’s astounding as ever is the dishonesty of the administration. New “zero tolerance” rules for Crime Free were pushed through council last fall as the miracle fix to a sudden rise in the number of local shootings. They did it despite serious concerns about potential violations of housing rights. They did it despite having dropped the ball on preparedness to enforce much of anything for months afterward. It was another show featuring paper tigers, and we should demand better.