Crime Free Multi-Housing
Our society today has evolved into one in which a main concern of its people is crime, and how to prevent it. As a prospective tenant searching for a new home, you have the right to a safe, healthful crime-free setting in which to live alone peacefully, or to raise your family.
In your search for just the right area, you will notice differences in properties where the property managers or landlords and their staff are committed to providing the most wholesome environment possible. Just as criminals are educated on whom they may victimize easily, so should the law-abiding public be educated on how to fight against the criminal element. The following information should be of great value to you in your search.
What is the general appearance of the neighborhood?
Take a very close look around the area you are considering. Speak to people who live nearby, and be wary of "RED FLAGS" that may signal the existence of crime:
- Suspicious vehicles and people: Do the vehicles coming into the area match the homes and populace? Is there an inordinate amount of expensive cars, limousines or taxicabs? Do many vehicles stay at a home for only a few minutes before leaving? Are there outlaw biker-type individuals frequenting the neighborhood? Do you recognize gang-type attire being worn, and gang hand signals being used? Are individuals hanging around on the street making quick contacts with passers-by?
- Fortified buildings: Do the homes in the area have wrought iron on all the doors and windows? Is there razor wire on tops of walls or fences, or are the windows on buildings blacked out?
- Graffiti: Graffiti is a good indication that a neighborhood is becoming run down. It is the way gang members attempt to claim territory as their own, unless the community denies them in their attempts by painting over the graffiti immediately.
- Miscellaneous tips: There may be other signs in your prospective residential areas that concern you. If you have any questions, you are encouraged to phone us and ask about those situations.
What is the appearance of the property itself?
Neighborhoods can have pockets where criminal activity is more prevalent. After checking the surrounding area, focus on the potential residential site itself.
- Building design: Are there dark corners, alcoves or entryways in which a criminal could hide? Is the building set back from perimeter streets to establish territoriality? Does the site offer off-street parking in a secure area?
- Landscaping: Are trees and bushes well trimmed in order to allow visibility around doors, windows and parking ares? Are prickly plants such as cactus used under ground floor windows as a deterrent against a criminal’s entry?
- Common area security: Is there access control to the building? Do the doors to the laundry facility and other common areas remain locked to control access? Are those doors ever allowed to be propped open? Are there adequate recreational facilities that encourage neighbors to get to know and recognize each other?
- Lighting: Have lighting fixtures been strategically placed to promote high visibility around the property at night? Visit your potential home after dark to verify the lights are in good working order.
- Perimeter: Is there a perimeter fence or wall designating the property and supplying a barrier to outside pedestrian and vehicular traffic? Is the landscaping amenable to visibility?
- Addressing: Can the address of the complex be clearly read from the street? Is the address of the complex clearly read from the street? If there is more than one building, is each building marked legibly with the numbers?
- Individual apartment security: Does each apartment have a 1900 peephole in the outside door? Are the outside doors solid core with steel single-cylinder deadbolt locks with one-inch throw bolts and security strike plates?
Is your landlord committed to your safety?
Landlords who are committed to your safety scrutinize tenant applications. Do not be upset at detailed questionnaires. If all prospective tenants are screened well, the potential for crime is greatly reduced. A good landlord will:
- Require a complete application
- Investigate the history of prospective tenants
- Inspect the property regularly
- Treat all applicants equally regarding rental criteria
- Keep the tenants informed
- Demand valid identification (usually 2 I.D.'s)
- Promote tenant gatherings
- Have strong rental agreement provisions
- Document all concerns in writing
- Keep all utilities/amenities on the premises in good working order
Your responsibilities as a tenant
Now that you are equipped with some information that can help you locate a safe place to live, keep in mind that you will be responsible for helping maintain that safe environment. Good landlords need good citizens in their communities. They need tenants who are just as committed to being reliable as they have been. If everyone works together on a continuing basis, the criminals will have to look elsewhere to victimize. You, your family, your friends and your neighbors will all benefit from the great neighborhood you have helped sustain.
For more information contact Officer Elijah Woodward by e-mail or call at (520) 229-5085.