The Vista City Council this week adopted a Crime Free Housing ordinance which could require some apartment complexes with a high number police or fire service calls to enroll in San Diego County's Crime-Free Multi-Housing program - Read more. Molly Kirkland, SDCAA Director of Public Affairs, attended the city council hearing and shared concerns regarding the definition of service calls, the implementation date of the ordinance and the fees associated when required to participate. One property owner also testified and shared similar concerns. As a result, a motion was made for city staff to come up with a list of exemptions so calls not related to criminal activity don’t count against a property. Also, instead of the ordinance going into effect in 30 days, it will go into effect in 60 days allowing more time for proper notification to property owners and managers. Lastly, the ordinance will be reviewed in one year and if not reauthorized by the council, it will sunset. This will also allow for review of the annual participation fees.
The Vista City Council will be hearing a proposed ordinance on Tuesday, June 28, which will require certain apartment communities to participate in the crime-free program if they are found to have a significant amount of calls for service.
SDCAA Public Affairs staff attended an informational meeting on Thursday, June 24, to learn more and ask questions about the proposed ordinance. SDCAA expressed concern with the service call threshold as it doesn't differentiate between calls for crimes and medical needs. Additionally, it doesn't take into consideration calls for service that originate from the property but are not associated with a crime or emergency at the property. For example, if a number of residents call 911 because there is a fire across the street, the calls will be attributed to the residents' property.
However, once a property is identified as having a high level of calls for service, city staff will conduct a review of the calls to determine if they were indeed crime-related. A property owner or manager will also have the opportunity to appeal a decision under the ordinance.
Here is what you need to know:
- properties currently participating voluntarily in Crime Free Multi Housing will not be required to participate unless they are found to not be complying with the components of the program.
- The ordinance will apply to properties with 10 or more units in the City of Vista. The city has identified 160 properties with 10 or more units. 55 of those are believed to meet the proposed call threshold.
- Participation will be mandated if calls for service equal 25 percent or more of the units in any two six month period within an 18 month time frame. Below is an example of the threshold:
- If a property is found to meet the threshold, city staff will then conduct a review of service calls to determine if they are crime and nuisance related.
- A property required to participate in the program at that point will need to:
- Have an owner or manager attend an 8-hour training
- Use the mandated crime-free lease addendum and submit a lease addendum tracking sheet
- Have a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) inspection and make necessary safety improvements
- Hold annual tenant meetings and submit a plan for tenant outreach
- Submit a Crime Fee Multi Housing Certification Application
- Meet with Crime Prevention to review certification process
- Post signage identifying name of responsible party for the premises
- Maintain a level of calls for service below the threshold for 48 months
- Pay the annual program fee
- $850 for 10-50 units
- $1000 for 51-100 units
- $1250 for 101-200 units
- $1500 for 201 units or more
SDCAA also expressed that the inspection conducted should only consist of items related to crime and not over-reach into areas such as required pool signage related to health issues, as the County already conducts pool inspections.
The council hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28 at Vista City Hall, located at 200 Civic Center Drive, Vista, CA 92084. Those wishing to speak about the ordinance should fill out a speaker slip and reference Item D-1. Letters may be submitted for the record by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a link to the staff report and draft ordinance.