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The city of Mankato has a significant number of rental properties partly due to higher education institutions in the area. Rental properties present a unique challenge for law enforcement because the typical block watch approach used for residents in single-family homes is not easily adapted to rental communities. In single family homes, owners generally have a large investment in their home purchase, which motivates owners to a greater concern about crime in their neighborhoods. With rising crime rates come lowering property values.
Those who live in rental properties tend to move a lot. In many cases, owners don’t require leases, and residency is based on a month-to-month agreement. This allows occupants to move easily if they feel crime has reached a level they will not tolerate because it's easier to move away from crime than to confront it.
The crime free multi-housing program began in Mesa, Ariz. in 1992. The program utilizes a multi-faceted approach involving law enforcement, property managers and rental property residents. The program achieved almost instant success. In rental properties with the highest crime rates, immediate results showed up to a 90 percent reduction in police calls for service. Even in the best properties reductions of 15 percent to 20 percent were not uncommon. These positive results have been seen by many communities that have implemented this program. The program's first phase involves training property managers how to keep criminals out through good tenant screening and how to remove criminal tenants with the use of a crime free lease addendum. This addendum to the lease agreement lists specific criminal acts that, if committed on the property, will result in the immediate termination of the resident’s lease.
The second phase requires rental properties meet basic safety requirements. Crime prevention through environmental design has been used to help prevent crimes that might occur in parking lots or common areas.
The third phase involves residents. Property managers must hold a social event annually for tenants to help encourage them to become an organized group of eyes and ears for the property.
In 2006, the Mankato Department of Public Safety implemented the crime free multi-housing program in the city of Mankato. In September, Highland Hills apartments became the first property fully certified in the program.The city of Mankato hopes to see positive results with this program.
If interested in learning more about the Crime Free Multi-Housing program contact staff with the Mankato Department of Public Safety at (507-387-8795.
Learn more about the crime free multi-housing training session for property owners and managers.