There were 13,141 calls for service at apartment complexes in 2011, but there is room for optimism.
Sandy Springs Police expect crime to decrease at 550 Abernathy. The apartment complex has had some of the highest police incidents in the city.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Deputy Chief of Police Kenneth DeSimone said students from the Art Institute of Atlanta committed much of the crime.
“The complex has severed ties with the school,” he said. “We expect calls for service and the crime rate to go down.”
The apartment community has 224 units, 89 of which were for AIA students.
A Sandy Springs Police initiative has looked at top crime densities among older rental communities. During last week’s City Council retreat, Chief Terry Sult presented a break down of crimes per 100 apartment units in a year, which included: Highland Circle apartments on Northwood Drive with 27.61 crimes; 550 Abernathy at 24.56 crimes; and The Reserve at Ridgewood on Roswell Road at 21.64 crimes.
The Reserve is undergoing a yearlong renovation as part of a property improvement project.
In reducing apartment crime, DeSimone suggests city officials request resident lists from complexes so police can check for individuals wanted by authorities. Also increasing traffic enforcement around apartment complexes can help to reduce crime, he said. “If you commit a crime, within minutes you are usually mobile in a car. A lot of people don’t realize [nationally] most drug seizures are made on traffic stops,” he said.
Police say Sandy Springs apartments account for nearly 37 percent of emergency calls for service and more than 58 percent of violent crimes.
To address crime and apartment violations Councilwoman Karen McEnerny is in favor of apartment inspections to check the number of occupants. An apartment ordinance requires an inspector to make note if he sees too many mattresses in a bedroom, she said.
“If they’re only inspecting the vacant apartments they’ll never see evidence of occupancy that is unsafe,” she said.
Mayor Eva Galambos added that crime is connected to too many people living in an apartment.
“Does the fire department have the authority to go in and check as to whether the alarms are functioning,” the Mayor asked.
Should officials be able to enter apartments to check the number of occupants? Tell us in the comments.
“There are limitations as to what you can do going into a dwelling,” said City Attorney Wendell Willard. “Be aware, we talked about people's living dwellings. You can’t differentiate between those living dwellings, and your living dwellings, and other living dwellings as far as the application of the Constitution of limitations.”
DeSimone added that the best way to address occupancy concerns is through code enforcement, and community police officers that are working with apartment management to improve conditions.
“For the police department [to enter the apartment] you would have a criminal search warrant,” he added.
By the Numbers
- 71 apartment complexes in Sandy Springs
- 19,577 apartment total units
- 276 average units per complex
- 13,141 calls for service in 2011