The Atlanta Police Department says it’s looking at a new policy to help address crime in affordable apartment communities.
The Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program is and it’s a national program that dates back to 1992. It’s already in place in parts of the metro area, along with more than 2,000 cities across the country in 48 different states.
The idea is to curb illegal activity in apartment complexes by helping property managers better screen potential tenants and engage with current ones.
Lieutenant John Quigley, a commander in APD’s community-oriented policing unit, said APD just went to a training seminar this past summer in Kansas City, and is now working with managers to get the program off the ground here.
“We’re trying to, you know, get them to work with us, build a stronger partnership, better communication, obviously – hopefully – at the same time a reduction in crime,” he said.
The program is voluntary and includes three phases.
First, police officers train property owners on how to screen potential tenants while still following the laws set forth in the Fair Housing Act. Police than certify the complex, making sure it meets safety standards.
Once that’s complete, the complex holds a tenant crime prevention meeting, and must hold at least one every year after to be recertified. An annual re-inspection is also required.
In exchange, the complex gets recognized by the police department as part of the Crime-Free Multi-Housing program. They’re issued signs to display on the property, and can also use the certification in advertisements.
“In the long term it helps the apartment complexes not to turn over people and have a more stable community because then they’re not spending as much money getting apartments ready,” he said.
Quigley said police Chief George Turner still has to sign off on the policy.
Other counties in the metro area have already adopted the policy, including Gwinnett and DeKalb.
Brent Sobol, the director of Legacy Community Housing Corporation, is the first in Atlanta to start the Crime-Free Multi-Housing training program and has just completed the first phase.
“People want to have a safe home,” he said, “and when you have a safe home, you can have kids who have a chance of growing up right, but community buy in is absolutely one of the most important components to this.”
APD said they hope to get the program up and running by the end of the year.