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‘Safe Streets Initiative’ means some DeKalb residents will soon need parking permits

By Katie Finlon

DEKALB –The first phase of the DeKalb Police Department’s Safe Streets Initiative begins this week. That means some residents will need to get parking permits from the city soon to avoid getting ticketed or towed.

DeKalb police officials say overall crime decreased in the city, but the actual number of shootings increased due to a recent string of incidents in areas close to the Northern Illinois University campus. Visitors now aren’t permitted to park along Russell Road and Crane Drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

DeKalb Police Commander Steve Lekkas says a lot of crime happening in those areas isn’t committed by people who live there. He says it usually comes from out-of-towners.

“So, if we limit some of the places where they could leave their cars and kind of monitor that more closely,” Lekkas said, “it’ll hopefully prevent the crime.”

Lekkas says similar parking restrictions have worked in other parts of the city.

“We, years ago, undertook parking reorganization on the area west of Annie Glidden,” Lekkas said. “Since then, we saw a decrease in crime there.”

Full enforcement for the Phase One area begins March 29.

Permits are available at the police department for free until August. After that, permits will be $25 per NIU academic year.

Other potential phases include better-lit paths from campus, along with overnight parking restrictions in other residential areas. Those phases have yet to pass through city council.

More information on the initiative can be found on the city’s website. Lekkas says the department encourages community feedback with other potential phases of the plan.

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