My "Three-Strikes-You're-Out" crime-free housing program is meant to be fair yet progressively forceful. I appreciate the nearly 100 or so who have called, e-mailed and spoken to me in person with further ideas. A minimum and maximum fine based on the severity of the violation was one such suggestion. However, most questioned why the city is not enforcing existing laws?
Most convicted felons are not eligible for Section-8 housing. Nor should they be living in Section-8 or other forms of rental housing support programs provided by the federal, state or local housing authorities.
State statue, Criminal Housing Management 720-ILCS-5/12-5.1 provides remedies "for conditions which endangers the health and safety of any person." Statue 735-ILCS-5/9-120 specifies that felonies and Class A misdemeanors can result in evictions.
With crime being the No. 1 issue in Belleville, we must plan and prioritize our budget to find the means to add more police officers. Whereas attention to enforcing the existing laws can be done without removing "our patrol deterrent force" to stop other violent crimes such as home invasions.
We also need to recognize that housing issues, such as occupancy permit violations, are more than a 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. job and we need the resources to fight these violations 24-7.
The people of Belleville not only want crime-free housing, but a crime-free city. We can never stop all crime, but we have the ability to prioritize resources that sends a message that Belleville is serious about crime. How do we find the funds? We need to start with budget review workshops, TIF reform and accounting transparency.
Ward 5 Alderman, mayoral candidate