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Housing discrimination isn't a crime-fighting tool

Housing discrimination isn't a crime-fighting tool

No one wants a nuisance for a neighbor. No one wants to live next door to people who are noisy, combative or involved in a criminal enterprise, such as peddling drugs or stolen goods. No landlord wants to rent to such folks, either. Cities big and small struggle to find a balance between preventing crime and alienating the residents being policed — between enforcing laws to ensure crime-free housing while also following the laws governing fair housing.

The city of Hesperia in San Bernardino County wrestled with that issue in 2015, but got the balance disturbingly wrong. The city's Crime Free Rental Housing ordinance, which went into effect at the beginning of this year,...

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