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Charlotte Area

CMPD Offers To Help Apartment Complexes 'Clean House'

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say overall crime rose 12 percent during the first three months of the year, compared to the same period last year. Now the department is urging apartment complexes to take advantage of CMPD's "house cleaning services." 

The connection between cleanliness and crime may not be entirely obvious, but CMPD Captain Chuck Henson says it's an old law enforcement philosophy. "You know, the bad-looking stuff attracts the bad element," says Henson.

Cortland Properties recently tested that theory with two apartment communities it acquired in the Hickory Grove area in October. Both were known hotspots for crime, so Cortland asked CMPD for suggestions. Captain Henson made some obvious ones like fixing broken window screens and parking lot lights. He also suggested remodeling the clubhouse and cutting down some trees to allow fewer places for people to hide.

Cortland Property manager Jaime Miles says the tree-trimming thing wasn't something she'd initially thought of. But she did think to ask CMPD for some input on who was living in the complex. "We pretty much just gave them a rent roll and said, 'Here's where we think the problem is. Does this look familiar?'" explains Miles. "They were able to tell us about a lot of things we didn't even know about."

Armed with information about criminal activity and outstanding warrants, Miles evicted about 10 percent of her tenants. The "house-cleaning" seems to have worked. Captain Henson says reported crimes are down more than 30 percent for the two Cortland Properties in his Hickory Grove division. Now CMPD is urging other large apartment complex managers to follow suit.