ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Neighborhood pride seems to be more evident on a nice fall day. And those who don't maintain their properties, get noticed.
"They just bring down the entire neighborhood," says Orchid Neighborhood Group Vice President Joe Owen.
Absentee landlords are such a problem, the Rockford Apartment Association launched a website to help hold them more accountable. The site provides property owners' names and contact info, yet it's up to the owners to sign up.
"Say there's tenants being disrupted in the middle of the night, unless somebody tells you about that, the landlord may never find out about that," says R.A.A. President Paul Arena.
Crime could get a renter removed so nearby neighbors stay safe. We could also inform landlords of aesthetic concerns, such as garbage or unkempt lawns.
Families' opinions do matter. The Orchid neighborhood group fought tirelessly to turn its neighborhood around and got this area turned into green space.
The Jane Addams Housing Complex was demolished in 2008. Since then, Orchid leaders say the drug and gun violence has dwindled. But it's still there.
"If landlords did a better background check they'd get a better quality of people," says Owen.
Owen applauds the R.A.A.'s efforts. Especially since half his neighborhood rents.
"Landlords will be able to better protect their investment, neighborhoods will be safer," he says.
He says his group frequently complains to the city and with this new site, a resolution is expected to come in a much more timely fashion.
Families can also use the directory to contact their neighbors. Right now only about two-hundred are signed up. So there's a long way to go to make it effective, since there are tens of thousands of properties in Rockford.
To sign up, visit www.rockfordapartmentassociation.org and click on property contact info.