Crime Free Multi-Housing Program

Check the list of participating rental communities under the San Leandro Crime Free Multi-Housing Program.

Rental properties present a unique challenge for law enforcement. The typical Neighborhood Watch approach to residents in single family homes is not easily adapted to rental communities. In single family homes, owners generally have a large cash investment in the purchase of their home. This motivates owners to a greater concern about crime in their neighborhoods. With rising crime rates come lower property values.

An owner of a single family home might also be looking at a long term of residency. Typically, homeowners have a thirty-year mortgage for their property. Home is where they come each day and perhaps raises a family. There tends to be a lot of pride and ownership of their property. When crime problems begin to appear, owners are very likely to organize Neighborhood Watch activities to protect the long-term interests of their families.

Rental Properties

In rental properties, the communities tend to be much more transient.

Most often, residents sign a six-month, nine-month, or a twelve-month lease for a rental property. In many cases, owners don't even require leases, and residency is based on a month-to-month agreement. This allows for an occupant to move very easily if they feel crime has reached a level they will not tolerate. It is easier to move away from crime than to confront it.

Implementation of the Program

The police have historically fought a losing battle with Neighborhood Watch in multi-family rental properties. In 1992, the City of Mesa in Arizona was faced with a difficult decision. To no longer offer Neighborhood Watch training in rental properties, or to develop a new concept for crime prevention in the rental communities.

The result was the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program implemented by Mesa, Arizona in July of 1992. This bold, new program had no precedent.

San Leandro Police PatchThe program's concept was to take a multi-faceted approach to crime prevention. A unique coalition of police, property managers, property owners and residents of rental properties, the program was to be an on-going program with a three phase approach to address all of the opportunities of crime in rental property.

The program was designed to include a certification process, never before offered by a police department. The incentives of police issued signs, certificates, and advertising privileges provided immediate interest in the program.

Crime Free Lease Addendum

The development of the Crime Free Lease Addendum proved to be the backbone of the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. This addendum to the lease agreement lists specific criminal acts that, if committed on, or off, the property, will result in the immediate termination of the resident's lease.

Success of the Program

The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program achieved almost instant success.

In rental properties with the highest crime rates, the immediate results showed up to a 90% reduction in police calls for service. Even in the best properties reductions of 15% to 20% were not uncommon.

The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program began to spread nationally after the first year, and internationally after the second year. The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program has been a success all across the United States and Canada.

In the Summer of 2008, the San Leandro Police Department decided to implement the Crime Free Multi-Housing program for our 100 + Apartment Communities in San Leandro which will reach out to approximately 30,000 residents, nearly 1/3 of San Leandro's population.

Phases of the Program

Through the San Leandro Police Department, property managers can participate in a free education and certification program called the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. This is a three-phase program that has been developed in an effort to reduce crime, enhance rental properties and increase property values throughout the city.

  1. Phase I
  2. Phase II
  3. Phase III

Landlords and property managers are invited to attend a free training on various aspects of effective property management. Topics discussed include applicant screening, rental agreements, ongoing property management, crime prevention through environmental design, warning signs of gang and drug activity, the role of the police, crisis resolution and housing assistance programs.