In a bid to protect tenants, California has taken a leap to ban crime-free housing. Before this, renters would have been at risk of being evicted from their homes, even after just one 911 call. Now the question is, why aren’t more states doing the same?

What Is Crime-Free Housing?

The Crime-Free Association has described this program as being “state-of-the-art” crime prevention. It was first introduced in 1992 and was intertwined with the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act. By 2019, 2000 US cities had introduced the crime-free program. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that’s a lot of cities… and a lot of tenants at risk.

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The program has meant that landlords can evict their tenants with just one strike after a crime has been committed at their property. A crime-free home is supposed to be a way to give a landlord stable tenants. However, it seems, little thought was given to how this could affect renters.

Crime-Free Encourages Homelessness

If a tenant has been evicted from their home, it’s going to be harder for them to find somewhere else to live. You have provide references before being allowed to move a single box into a rental property. If this comes back with a big red cross, then a person may find themselves with nowhere to live.

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You also can’t receive housing assistance if you’ve been evicted from a property. This is used to help low-income households if they can’t afford rental prices. Zero housing assistance for a person is another way homelessness can increase. If they can’t afford to rent, then they could

There’s Still More Negative Effects

Possibly the worst part about crime-free housing is that tenants have become too scared to dial 911. They would rather suffer than ask for the help they need. This is due to the fear of being kicked out of their homes. It can be harmful for domestic violence victims and anyone with mental health issues. In the event of an emergency, this can be a matter of life and death.

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Another negative outcome of crime-free housing is that it’s harmful to children. It can pull them from stability or even split them apart from their parents. It causes unnecessary stress for a child, especially when all they should worry about is homework.

Crime-Free Rasies Crime Rates, Not Lowers Them

Crime-free can push people to drugs and alcohol. The stresses of being evicted can mean people want to escape. Using drugs and alcohol can only cause further crime. With the whole point of crime-free being to lower this, it shows that the program isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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With tenants too scared to call 911 because they don’t want to be evicted, this can even lead to much more serious crimes that take place behind closed doors. Think domestic violence that gets out of hand and even sexual or physical assault.

It’s Segregation

The crime-free program is aimed at low-income households. It’s these people that have no choice but to rent because they can’t afford to buy a home. Research has shown that the majority of households in this bracket are either Black or Latino, showing segregation.

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Crime-free is targeted at low-income and minority families. While its goal is to create a safe residential area, it doesn’t always mean it creates a safe area in the actual home. Then, with renters not wanting to call 911, it can cause serious danger.

What Crime-Free Is Supposed To Bring Landlords

The program was originally introduced in 1992 to give landlords a sense of stability. Crime-free would help to give landlords tenants that they can rely on. It would also give them tenants that would not cause their property any harm. Every landlord’s dream is to have quiet and reliable tenants, and this is what crime-free is supposed to give them.

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Not only this, crime-free is supposed to mean fewer repair costs and maintenance. According to the program, a property that’s free from crime means things won’t break in the home, reducing costs for the landlord.

What Crime-Free Is Supposed To Bring To The Community

When you think of a peaceful community, you only think of cries of laughter from children out playing, or dogs trotting along with their owners as they go for an evening walk. The crime-free program is supposed to bring stability to a residential area. It should prevent disturbances and create the perfect neighborhood. However, as most people are aware, no residential area is 100% perfect.

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Crime-free should also improve an area’s safety. With fewer 911 calls in a residential area, it means lower crime rates. This isn’t always the case, as instead there may still be crimes, just with tenants reluctant to make any emergency calls.

What Crime-Free Actually Brings

While the program has been designed to create safer residential areas and a more stable letting process for landlords, what it actually brings is far worse. There’s a serious lack of safety if tenants are at risk of being homeless or can’t make necessary 911 calls and making fewer calls is supposed to be a good thing.

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The negative effects of crime-free seem to outweigh the positive. The one strike and you’re out rule has seen an increase of 40% in evictions, going all the way back to 1996. That’s a lot of people losing their homes.

Put The Ban In Place

If other states follow the lead of California, it will lead to increased safety for renters across the country. It would give tenants the confidence to call 911, reduce segregation and prevent homelessness. A ban on the crime-free program would give hope to renters that they’re in a stable tenancy. It wouldn’t just bring protection, but also peace.

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