Vacant Properties A Haven for Crime in a City Plagued by Violence

April 2013

On an average day in Chicago last year, seven reported crimes took place in vacant properties. This constitutes a 48% increase in the number of crimes reported in Chicago’s vacant buildings between 2005-2012. After foreclosure banks and lenders often empty rental buildings of law-abiding, rent-paying families, resulting in scores of new vacant buildings. As a result, there has been an astronomical increase in the number of vacant properties in Chicago at the same time that crime in vacant buildings has been on the rise. Now the city is set to vote on an ordinance that will help address this problem by preventing future vacant properties throughout Chicago.

This report was created in conjunction with the Keep Chicago Renting Coalition to promote passage of the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosed Rental Property Ordinance commonly known as the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO), which mandates that successors-in-interest to foreclosed properties either offer new or extended leases to tenants in foreclosed properties, or, should they choose to vacate properties, provide $10,600 in relocation assistance per household. This allows renters, even those without a written lease, to remain in their home as long as they comply with their rental agreements, incentivizing banks to collect rent, or sell occupied REOs, keeping them in productive use.