Belleville's proposed crime ordinance

September 14, 2013 

Belleville's proposed "black-free crime ordinance" targets black renters in a disparate way.

The city believes the bulk of crime is generated by resident renters, therefore this law targets only rental property. This ordinance targets 66.7 percent of the black population, 49 percent of mixed and other minorities, but only 27.2 percent of the white population.

Here are the numbers:

Belleville's population: 43,765.

Whites only: 29,847 (68.2 percent).

Blacks only: 11,116 (25.4 percent).

Mixed and other minority races: 2,802 (6.4 percent).

Belleville has 18,249 total housing units -- 11,419 owner-occupied and 6,830 renter occupied.

Whites own 83.6 percent of the owner-occupied units; blacks own 12.2 percent, and mixed and other minorities own 4.28 percent.

In 2012, Belleville wrote 53.14 percent of "occupancy only" tickets to blacks, who are 25.4 percent of the population. All of the housing "sweeps" done by code enforcement target only areas with a high concentration of blacks.

Add to this, since 1997, Belleville has enacted 12 retroactive zoning ordinances, changing multi-family and two family to single family to reduce the amount of rental property. Two other ordinances increased the minimum lot size in areas zoned A-1 single family, A-2 two family, and B-1 multi-family, all retroactively.

This is systemic, institutional racism. Belleville has a long history. The city, under the color of law, will be violating civil rights laws and the U.S. constitution if it enacts this crime-free ordinance, which won't work.

Rick Brown


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