Jacob, Gore proposal would make safety program mandatory at troublesome spots; vote set July 13
July 10, 2010 (San Diego) -- A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department program that has achieved success turning around crime rates at problem apartment complexes soon will be mandatory for landlords whose rental properties generate frequent visits from law enforcement.
At the request of Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Sheriff Bill Gore, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance last week that would require certification in the Crime Free Multi-housing Program for owners of rental dwellings that rack up at least 10 calls for service from law enforcement in any three month period. Final adoption is expected on July 13.
The certification requirement would apply only to properties with a disproportionate number of service calls when compared with similar rental properties.
Supervisor Jacob praised the Crime Free Multi-housing Program for making a dramatic dent in crime, particularly in Spring Valley. The program pairs deputies with landlords to make security improvements and deal with problem tenants. Deputies train landlords to root out drug and alcohol-related crime.
“We’ve seen landlords create a whole new sense of community by making positive, quality-of-life changes to complexes,” said Supervisor Jacob. “When a tenant signs a lease, that tenant promises not to engage in illegal activity. If they do, they face eviction. This is the hammer we need to clean up communities.”
Spring Valley resident Debbie Gilly, a strong supporter of the program, described living across the street from a complex once plagued by street fights, riots, burglaries, mail theft and physical violence.
“We suffered greatly for over two years at the hands of thugs, criminals, drug dealers, gangsters and out-of-control teens that terrorized our neighborhood,” said Gilly. “If it wasn’t for the brave Sheriff’s Department, our neighborhood would still be infested with these gangsters and criminals,” Gilly said.
The program is modeled after an international Crime-Free Multi Housing Program (http://www.crime-free-association.org/multi-housing.htm). Started in Mesa, Arizona, the program has since spread to 2,000 cities in 44 states as well as provinces in Canada.
The ordinance was crafted in consultation with the San Diego County Apartment Association. The ordinance would take effect 30 days after final adoption.