Last week the Review reported on the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program, a unique and thoughtful community wide initiative aimed at shaping proper behavior in Forest Park’s children by changing the approach of the adults. This week, we report on another interesting program, which has been recently launched by the police department in an attempt to reduce criminal activity in rental properties.

Just as PBIS draws on support from the schools, library and park district, the Crime Free Multi-Housing program relies on a community effort between landlords, police and residents. And just as PBIS tries to reach to the core of the matter, teaching kids in a preventative, rather than correctional, manner, Crime Free Multi-Housing sets out to prevent crime by helping landlords weed out problematic tenants before they even reside in Forest Park. It can also hasten evictions of problem tenants.

We are seeing a trend here, and we like it.

As for the Crime Free Multi-Housing program, rental properties have proven to be an exceptionally challenging issue for the police department. Gang and drug activity is a very apparent problem. Some current homeowners have told the Review that they are fearful and have considered leaving town. Something must be done, and Crime Free Multi-Housing is a good start.

As a voluntary program, though, it demands cooperation from the landlords. And Forest Park has a mixed bag of landlords. It has traditionally been easier to point fingers at disruptive tenants than to send a message to landlords milking buildings without a thought about the impact of their failing building on the broader community.

A combination of honey and a stick will be required to engage more landlords – large and small ones – in this program via Officer Mike O’Connor’s informational sessions. It’s essential to publicize the program’s successes by proving that running a building well will add to its long-term profitability.


More dog parks

Bring on the dog parks. Though parks specifically made for dogs are apparently a rare find in the western suburbs, Forest Park could soon be home to two. The recreation board is pushing to have a small portion of the space behind the Altenheim turned into another dog park, much larger than the current one. Is it because we need another dog park? Well, partly no. But we could use a little more park space and for a temporary use, that is the least expensive option out there. The village owned space there is quite expansive, 11 acres, and none of it is being used regularly. At the rate “negotiations” are going with Fenwick and Dominican, it could be years before anything is in place. In the meantime, why not throw a dog park on the corner? We hope the village council passes the proposal. The risks are low and people – as well as their dogs – will certainly enjoy it.