Police program gives apartments a secret weapon

November 4, 2020
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Community resource officer Trey Kerr uses the Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program to keep crime out of apartment communities.

By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

People wanting to move into Cedar Point Town Homes better be prepared to be patient – there’s a two-year waiting list. Property manager Sherrie Sims says that’s because she has a secret weapon – the Mansfield police and the Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program.

The nationwide program implements screening of potential tenants and a lease addendum that tenants and their guests will not participate in any criminal activity.

“Almost everything that is on the lease agreement is on that addendum,” said Trey Kerr, a community resource officer with the Mansfield Police Department.

“This just give you a little more teeth,” Sims explained. “When you go before the judge (with an eviction), he says you have every right to do it.”

Depending on the severity of the infraction, tenants “can be evicted in 10 to 15 days or at the end of the lease we welcome you to find somewhere else to live,” Sims said.

Any criminal activity by the tenant or their visitors can get them bounced, Kerr said, even if the tenants aren’t at the apartment complex when they commit the crime.

“These are one-and-done and they can get you evicted,” he said.

Of the 22 apartment complexes in Mansfield, seven are active participants in the Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program, Kerr said. Most of the apartment communities in the city participate in some part of the program, even if they don’t have the lease addendum, he said.

The apartment managers have their own part to play in the program, including extensive screening of tenants, an eight-hour annual course with the police and a safety social, when they gather all of the tenants to get to know the other tenants and police officers.

The police have a part, too, doing inspections of the apartment communities to check lighting, deadbolts, building numbers and landscaping that could hide intruders. Police also monitor weekly crime reports and share any issues with apartment complex managers, who are sometimes unaware that there has been a crime committed in their community.

“If everyone would participate, you’d all that same level of comfort of knowing everyone is doing due diligence,” Sims said.

The Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program began in Mesa, Ariz., in 1992, and has spread across the country and to Mexico and Canada. Mansfield has participated for more than a decade, Kerr said.

Cedar Point Town Homes opened in 2004, before the program went into effect in Mansfield.

“Putting this in place changed every bit of it,” Sims said. “I have residents that remember those days.”

Just putting a Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program sign in front of the apartment complex office helps, Sims says, because people who have been evicted for program violations know that they won’t qualify and will often leave before even applying.

“All of the cities around us have the program,” Kerr said. “You don’t want to be the one that doesn’t. You can’t stop crime. You want to push it out of the community.

“People are concerned about apartments in general,” Kerr said. “But we don’t have a problem.”

For more information about the Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program, contact the Mansfield Police Department at 817-276-4725.

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