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Crime & Courts

Police calls are down at Batavia’s large housing complexes

Crime-free tenancy program would end if home rule is nixed

BATAVIA – In the years since Batavia attained home-rule powers, police calls to the community’s large apartment complexes have been reduced dramatically.

Batavia Police Chief Dan Eul told residents attending a public forum that the crime-free housing program, permitted under home-rule status, has made a big difference.

Using its home-rule abilities, the city adapted a crime-free housing ordinance in 2011, giving police and the landlords of multifamily housing complexes of six units or more additional powers to monitor building tenants. The crime-free housing program allows landlords to include addendums to leases that make it clear illegal activity will be grounds for eviction.

When the program was instituted in 2011, there were 822 police calls to the eight Batavia apartment complexes covered under the ordinance.

By last year, that number had declined to 639 calls, Eul said.

“We believe the statistics indicate that the crime-free multihousing program has been successful and is having a positive impact on the high-density rental community as a whole,” Eul said.

Eul’s remarks came during an informational meeting Oct. 8 at Batavia City Hall. Residents are preparing to go to the polls in a month to decide whether the city will retain its home-rule status. Batavia became a home-rule community in 2009 when the population reached 25,000.

If the city loses home-rule status in the Nov. 6 referendum, it would lose its authority to continue the program, Eul said.

Before home rule, police strategy for dealing with large apartment complexes was saturation patrols, Eul said.

While the saturation strategy was successful, reducing the number of police calls between 2008 and 2011, it required an effort the police could no longer afford when the department was cut in 2009 from 45 to 40 sworn officers, Eul said.

Batavia’s largest apartment complexes include Batavia Apartments with 290 units, Lorlyn Apartments with 253 units and Green Meadows with 150 units. Combined with five other much smaller apartment complexes, Batavia has a total of 844 units that are subject to the program.

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