The Las Vegas Crime Free Multi-Housing Program (LVCFMHP) began as a goal to reduce police calls-for-service by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Crime Prevention Detail and was implemented on May 2, 1995. This program is based on two programs sponsored by the Department of Justice. The foundation of the program is based on the "Landlord Training Program" (developed by John Campbell of Campbell and Delong Resource, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, 1989) and the "Mesa Crime Free Multi-Housing Program" (developed by Timothy Zehring, for the Mesa Police Department, Mesa, Arizona, 1991).
The LVCFMHP is a voluntary program that addresses three aspects of what it takes to make multi-housing-type property safer The three facets are (1) the rights and concerns of property management for profitability and liability, (2) physical attributes of the structures and property environment, and (3) the rights and concerns of tenants in acquiring a nice crime-free place to live. With the implementation of these entities, police departments will soon recognize a reduction in calls- for-service and, ultimately the crime rate will decrease.
Implementation Of the Program:
In December 1994, two LVMPD Crime Prevention Specialists, Harold Julian and Ron Corbin (California Crime Prevention Officers Association members), were sent to Mesa to complete 20 hours of training on the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. This was done at the request of Retired Sheriff Jerry Keller (then Deputy Chief) who recognized that apartment complexes have unique problems that differ significantly from single-family residences.
The Neighborhood Watch Program, by itself, just wasn't all that successful for apartments due to the fact that there is a higher transient nature of residents, apathy and complacency regarding "ownership" and "territoriality" of the facility, and architectural design differences. Therefore, something else had to be done to address the ever-increasing crime rates in apartment communities.The first four months of 1995 were devoted to developing and modifying the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program for implementation into the LVMPD's goals. This included researching applicable landlord/tenant laws under the Nevada Revised Statutes, writing appropriate training manuals, and introducing the program to affected stakeholders, such as the Apartment Associations of Nevada, the municipal judges, the Las Vegas Constable's Office, the Clark Country District Attorney's Office, and both the Las Vegas And Clark County Public Housing Offices. Also, contact was made with groups that may oppose the program such as Nevada Legal Services, NAACP, and ACLU to eliminate any grievances in the implementation of the program..
Program Goals and Objectives:
The LVCFMHP is a three-phase approach to eliminating crime in apartment communities and reducing calls-for-service by implementing a partnership between apartment management and law enforcement personnel. This is accomplished through:
- Phase One, Management Trainin
An eight-hour training seminar for apartment management personnel.
- Phase Two, Preparing the Property
Strict Security requirements and inspection of the property.
- Phase Three, Tenant Training
Resident get together to promote crime prevention or safety education programs.
In the eight-hour Phase One Session, topics pertinent to the overall operation of the apartment complex are taught to on-site management complex support personnel, property managers, and owners. This training seminar consists of topics covering:
- Preparing the Property (C.P.T.E.D.)
- Applicant Screening (Specifically, on stopping crime or criminals at the leasing office, not after they are on the property.)
- Rental Agreements (Specifically, changes that effect the use of the property.)
- Evictions, the process, the different notices and how to use the process to rid the property of criminal activities. (Using the civil courts, not the criminal courts.)
- Ongoing Management (Changing the apartment from a complex to a community, getting the tenants involved.)
- Illegal Activities (Specifically, identifying drug and gang activities.)
- Working with the Police (Specifically, area contact officers, service request and narcotic Service Request Forms, I.D.L. and Trespass Programs.)
Phase Two involves developing a "safe and secure place to live" and consist of management making changes to their property to meet either City or County codes or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (C.P.T.E.D.) Concepts. A Crime Prevention Specialist will inspect the property for these strategies as well as concerns of "Premises Liability" litigation.
The property owners must meet a minimum set of standards, many of which are already part of existing municipal codes. Many of these Minimum standards address problems that make emergency response by police, fire, and medical services difficult, such as:
- Proper Address and Building Numbers displayed.
- Apartment Unit Security (Apartment numbers, properly installed dead bolts, reinforced strike plates, window locks, and smoke detectors).
- Grounds Map Display.
- Adequate Lighting in all common areas
- Proper Landscaping to reduce Concealment
- Parking Lot and Pool/Recreation Area security.
Lastly, Phase Three of the program, "Tenant Training or Get Together", involves the education of the residents as to how they play a role in making their apartment community safer and meeting their neighbors. To complete this phase, apartment Management must host a get-together of their tenants with some manner of making them more aware of how they can reduce criminal activity in their neighborhood and, thus, their potential for becoming a victim.
Some typical ways to do this include inviting the fire department's education officer to discuss those issues in multi-housing areas, a crime prevention specialist or police officer to conduct an informational meeting or personal safety presentation, or a medical technician or Red Cross member to instruct in basic first aid or "CPR". These are only a few means of instruction that can he held for the tenants. Even if the tenants assemble without a speaker, their effort is acceptable as their intent becomes enjoining the neighbors into a sense of "Oneness".
Presently Phase Two, re-certification inspection is the only requirement to renew participation in the LVCFMHP. The inspections must be completed successfully annually, during the anniversary month to remain in good standing in the Program.
Successfully completing all three phases of the program entitles that apartment to display the Las Vegas Crime Free Multi-Housing Program signs on their property. The management will also receive a copyright release to advertise the Las Vegas Crime Free Multi-Housing Logo in "rental guides" and other promotional media.
Success of the Program:
Las Vegas is reportedly one of the fastest growing communities in the Nation with an estimate of 4000-6000 new residents each month and a tourist base of over 30 million visitors annually. With less than ten years of this program having been part of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Community Policing and Crime Prevention efforts, significant strides have been made in the reduction of police calls-for-services.
Presently, the Las Vegas Crime Free Multi-Housing Program is one of the largest and fastest growing programs in the Nation. Currently, we have over 1500 apartment complexes in the Greater Las Vegas Metropolitan area that have 100 living units or more. Numerous smaller complexes and hotels and motels that operate with monthly rentals, along with on going construction makes it seem an insurmountable task to ever achieve a majority participation in this program. However, at this time, over 1000 apartments of various size and 125 management and real estate companies are represented in some phase of the program. This encompasses over 2200 Management-level and staff members having completed at least the program's Phase One.
As a result, for those apartments having completed all three phases and enacting the intent of the program, calls-for-service (i.e., crime) have been estimated to be reduced an average of 65 percent. Even for those apartments still in the process of being totally vested in the program, the police response has been reduced between 35-40 percent.
Results and Outcomes of the Program :
Although this program is offered to the community as a voluntary venture of Metro's Crime Prevention Detail, its rapid success has led to the interest of several major property management companies to mandate participation by their apartment staff. Public and private entities such as Bigelow Properties, ConAm Management Corporation, Oasis/Camden Residential, Inc., Stout Management Company and both the Las Vegas and Clark County Housing Authorities are either requiring or strongly encouraging their managers to participate in the LVCFMHP.
Another endorsement of the profound achievements of this program is in the fact that it was brought to the attention of several Las Vegas City Council members. They were impressed to the point of making participation in the program a mandatory part of the business licensing requirements for apartment houses of more than four rental units. Copy of the city ordinance can be found at www.ordlink.com/codes/lasvegas/index.htm Title 6, Chapter 6.09. As a result of this bureaucratic edict, many landlords who have previously taken a "profit first ...over safety" approach to their properties are now faced with doing those things necessary to make their properties a safer place to live. All in all, the quality of life for apartment dwellers in Las Vegas is becoming better each day.
How This Program can be Replicated:
Las Vegas was most likely the third major city to incorporate the LVCFMHP as one of the programs offered to the public in an effort to reduce crime and police calls-for-service. Currently, this totally copyrighted program has gained widespread notoriety and is being implemented in over eighteen hundred cities, in 44 of the United States and throughout most of Canada. The program is being considered for use in certain Asian countries and the U.K..
Both the "Landlord Training Program" and the "Crime Free Multi-Housing Program" are fully copyrighted and must have a release to use or implement any part of either program. Mr. John Campbell of Campbell and Delong Resource, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, controls the copyright for the Landlord Training Program, whereas Crime Prevention Specialist Timothy Zehring, National Coordinator of the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, with the Mesa, Arizona Police Department, Controls the copyright of' this Program. For those law enforcement agencies interested in learning more about how to implemented these Programs, a "Train the Trainer" course is offered by both these gentlemen.
For more information about the Las Vegas program, contact Crime Prevention Specialist Erin Blakey at (702) 828-3340, or via email: E8940B@lvmpd.com