Seeing that traditional neighborhood crime prevention programs typically fail in rental neighborhoods prompted a police officer to get creative.
That’s how the international Crime Free Multi-Housing Program began. Incorporating effective crime prevention ideas and tenant screening techniques, policeman Tim Zehring of Mesa, Arizona developed a program that took crime prevention directly to the place it was needed most – to rental properties.
Through a multi-tiered approach that included education of landlords and property managers, and an inspection and evaluation of the premises by law enforcement, the Crime Free Multi-Housing program achieved almost instant success, with rental properties showing as much as a 90% reduction in crime or police intervention.
Now, the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program is an international phenomenon, with property managers and landlords clamoring for the chance to tout their properties as “Crime Free.”
Here’s how it works:
Landlords and property managers sign-up for the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program offered by participating local law enforcement agencies. Once the landlord or manager has completed the program, they get to use the Crime Free Lease Addendum, the backbone of the Crime Free Program. This addendum to a typical lease agreement lists specific criminal acts that if committed on the property will result in immediate termination of the resident’s lease.
Participation in the program discourages applicants who realizes they will not pass a criminal background check, which in turn attracts quality tenants, who crave the added security and increased quality of life.
To complete the three-step Crime Free program, the property owner or manager first attends an 8-hour educational workshop. Below is a example of the agenda offering, in this case from the British Columbia Crime Prevention Association, which is holding a Crime Free Multi-Housing workshop on September 18:
Overview of the CFMH Program
Applicant Screening Process
Combating Illegal Activity
Police and Community Working Together
Proactive Property Management
Residential Tenancy Legislation
The next phase of the program is a security assessment, which is an on-site visit by local law enforcement officers who provide insights on safety concerns on a specific property and neighborhood. After that, the landlord or property manager attends a “Safety Social” to learn ongoing crime prevention techniques and network with others in the program.
The program’s website boasts testimonials from law enforcement officers and landlords from Edmonton to Baton Rouge, California to Savannah, Georgia. Participants report consistent drops in crime on their rental properties and significant decreases in the number of calls to police. Tenants report an increased feeling of security and pride in the community.
To find a Crime Free Multi-Housing Program offering in your area, contact your local law enforcement agency. To learn more, visit Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, or email Officer Zehring at TiminMesa@yahoo.com.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.