‘Crime-Free' Housing Ordinances, Explained

Starting in the early 1990s, thousands of American towns and cities passed "crime-free housing" ordinances that purport to reduce crime in rental housing. The laws encourage or require landlords to evict tenants based on calls to police, or the criminal records of tenants or their houseguests. The laws' lack of due process has turned them into a tool promoting segregation and retaliation against people of color. Frequently enacted in places that have begun to diversify racially, they give police too much power to declare certain residences a nuisance. Legal challenges have begun to curb some abuses.

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