I have been dealing with a slowly escalating situation at my apartment building. A group (6-10) of juveniles (10 years - 16 years old?) have been causing issues. Here are a few:

  • Entering a small shared laundry area for my building and smoking and/or just hanging out. There was a lock on it, but it's been broken. I'm waiting on maintenance to fix it. Out of the dozen or so times I've witnessed this, I told the kids to stop twice.
  • Throwing rocks at our parking lot dumpster
  • Throwing rocks at our door.
  • Unverified: rock chips on my girlfriends car.
  • Latest event: kicked in my backdoor (which leads directly into my bedroom) as I was stepping out of the shower around 9pm, then ran away.
  • Strange event: one of the kids knocked on my door at 10pm and asked if I had any water and really didn't know what to do in this situation. I ended up giving her a soda then she left.

None of them live in my building and it's very difficult to find out which building (most likely owned by a different company), let alone which apartment they do live in. I called the police after my door was kicked in. They advised me to put up cameras and talk to my landlord. However, they also seemed to play it down as "kids just messing around" (their exact words). When I called non-emergency to request additional police presence in my neighborhood, they were the ones that suggested I have an officer come out immediately and take a report. So I think it's strange that the police that did come out made it seem like it wasn't a big deal. I talked to my landlord as the police suggested and the landlord said he wasn't sure what they could do besides put up a sign, but even then the "kids will probably ignore it". However, he did say he'd check into the maintenance request and expedite it.

I apologize if this isn't the right forum for this type of post, but I'm trying to get some idea of what legal recourse I have and who/what I should pursue?

  • In what jurisdiction?
    – phoog
    Oct 11, 2021 at 18:01
  • 1
    @phoog Illinois, USA
    – Ben
    Oct 11, 2021 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


Generally, the legal recourse would be from law enforcement (i.e. calling the police), rather than from the landlord (apart from getting the laundry room door or your back door fixed).

But, as you note, law enforcement isn't necessarily effective either. And, my guess is that forming a neighborhood watch or a Guardian Angels chapter in your neighborhood is too challenging a task for you to complete: it would take less time and money to find a better place to live. Patrol the complex with groups of neighbors who don't look like feeble targets now and then.

Generally, there is little landlord legal liability for third-party criminal activity not directly linked to a landlord's responsibility to maintain the property. And, even if you could sue the kids (which would require knowing their names and serving them with process and getting guardians ad litem appointed for them), the cost would outweigh the benefit.

You are the victim of what is commonly called "living in a bad neighborhood" and if there is any consolation in it, it probably keeps your rent cheaper than it would be otherwise.

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Your most viable solutions are likely to outside the formal legal and criminal justice process: Find a way to scare off the kids without breaking the law. Look scary. Circulate a false rumor that you are an ex-con serial murderer. Grab a kid and hold him until his parents show up (although the parents are often the root of the problem). Find win-win ways to enlist your landlord to assist you (perhaps, for example, offering to pay for a security camera or provide one second hand). Befriend one or more of them with petty bribes or a favor.

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