Apartment managers, tenants resting easier with Crime-Free Multi-Housing | NevadaAppeal.com

Apartment managers, tenants resting easier with Crime-Free Multi-Housing

Nick Coltrain
Jim Grant / Nevada AppealTimothy Zehring, founder of the Crime Free program, talks about the height of outside landscaping near windows to help prevent crime.

After only about three months of instituting the Crime-Free Multi-Housing program, Douglas County sheriff’s Deputy John Harker described an apartment manager’s reaction in one word.

“Excited,” he said.

Harker and Deputy Amy Partipilo said they had been called to that complex sometimes twice a day for complaints that mainly included drugs and domestic violence. But once the crime-free program was instituted – with its lease addendum stipulating eviction if a person engages in illegal activity – the calls started dwindling, they said.

Harker said they usually recognized most of the people they were being called out for and routinely arrested them. And with the arrest-equals-eviction clause, “already you’re reducing the repeat calls.”

Law enforcement and property managers are starting to institute the law in Carson City, with sheriff’s deputies from surrounding counties and local property owners and managers attending training classes Monday and Tuesday. Program trainer and South Lake Tahoe property manager Charles Arnold said that the interest in Carson City has been impressive so far, and with good cause.

“It’s nice to go from a property where you have to worry about your residents to one where you have half-a-dozen officers living there,” he said.

Arnold also echoed points made by the founder of the International Crime Free Association, Tim Zehring, that residents shouldn’t have to worry about their neighbors.

“One of the No. 1 concerns of our country is safety,” Zehring said. “When (residents) can live in an apartment community without having criminals next door, prostitutes next door or gangsters next door, that’s huge.”

Part of the new lease agreement that his group advocates calls for background checks that limit tenant eligibility if they had been convicted of a violent crime in the recent past (the exact time frame depends on the crime, Zehring said).

Meanwhile, the Douglas County deputies said that their success story apartment complex hasn’t changed: The good tenants attract more good tenants, and they have had nary a call for service there in several months.

There’s a “steadier clientele now,” Partipilo said.