Proposed law in Metro East aims to keep criminals out of apartment complexes

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by Matt Sczesny / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 8 at 5:42 PM

O’FALLON, Illinois (KMOV) -- A proposed law in unincorporated St. Clair County to keep criminals out of apartment complexes is drawing heaps of both criticism and praise.

The proposal is simple: a renter who commits a crime in an apartment complex can suddenly find be kicked out by the landlord.

Metro-East real estate agent Holly Norton is one of the driving forces behind the so-called “crime free rental” proposal.

“We want everyone to be happy about it and we look at it as a team effort. The community, the landlords, the state attorneys and police and we all work together as a team,” she said.

Similar laws just like it already exist in some Metro-East cities, including O’Fallon, which started it two years ago.

When asked if it’s working, O’Fallon Police Chief John Betten said, “Without question.”

But critics of the law say it only forces one criminal element to flee to a neighboring town, which is why more places may now be looking at it. And supporters also shoot down any notion the law discriminates.

”What we’re after here is behavior, because behavior is one thing that is not protected by the constitution,” said Betten.

If approved, the program will cost up to $25 per unit per year to fund, a cost thet will likely be passed on to renters.

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