Sandy Springs Police Moving Forward With Initiative Targeting Apartment Crime, Emergencies
A committee, which includes representatives from Fire Rescue, Code Enforcement, Permits, Police Patrol, Crime Prevention and Crime Analysis is working to develop a plan that includes apartment management and resident involvement.
A Sandy Springs Police committee will hold their third meeting, this week, to brainstorm on solutions to increased emergency calls and crime at local apartment complexes.
Apartments are four percent of the land mass in Sandy Springs, yet about 37 percent of emergency calls for service come from rental communities, police say.
Crime can be greater in apartment complexs simply because of the greater number of people in one area, said Officer Larry Jacobs, Crime Prevention Specialist.
“You have Entering Autos [crimes] because you have so many cars in a small area,” Jacobs said. “It’s like a mall parking lot. You can run in between 50 cars in a matter of minutes and see what’s inside.”
Similarly, a burglar might quickly enter an apartment by walking down a hallway and checking the doors.
The committee, which includes representatives from Fire Rescue, Code Enforcement, Permits, Police Patrol, Crime Prevention and Crime Analysis is working to develop a plan that includes apartment management and resident involvement.
“We’re talking about doing surveys soon for management and residents asking ‘What are your police-related problems?’ ‘What can we do from the Sandy Springs Police Department to make you feel safe and more secure,’ “ Jacobs said.
“They live there. We pretty much know what the problems are from our point of view,” he added “We want to know what the problems are from their point of view.”
Apartments have become a major factor as Sandy Springs moves toward downtown redevelopment to make the city a major draw comparable to neighboring communities. While Mayor Eva Galambos has said that she would like to see some of the older apartment communities razed and rebuilt for higher density, the city’s Economic Advisory Committee found that owners of apartment complexes have no interest in selling or redeveloping due to tax liabilities.
There are 78 apartment complexes in Sandy Springs. More than 20 developments were built in the 1960s and '70s.
Many of the rental communities have their own unique problems, Jacobs said. But in the future all of them could be required to have minimum outdoor lighting, bushes trimmed to a particular height, and gates in working order.
The committee has considered starting apartment watch programs, lease addendums to make criteria tighter for rental application approval, and implementing rules that result in eviction if violated, Jacobs said.
The committee talked to a member of the Georgia Apartment Association and has looked at solutions that have worked in other cities across the country.
Jacobs said the police are committed to a new initiative long term. “This is not some short term thing that we are going to fix in six months. This is going to take time,” he said.