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Apartment Tenants In Grandview Consider Expanded Crime-Free Additions To Lease

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Aviva Okeson-Haberman
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KCUR 89.3
Raymond Ogletree attended a cookout Saturday, July 27, at the Arbors of Grandview apartment complex. He said he feels safe at the Arbors of Grandview.

Grandview, Missouri, is hoping to decrease crime at apartments through a partnership with police and local apartment managers.

Key to the program: By signing a new lease addendum, a resident could be evicted if a guest in their apartment commits a crime. Also, the Grandview Police Department would inform apartment management if the resident is arrested. 

Residents can choose not to sign, but their lease might not be renewed. 

“I understand that if I commit a crime, they'll be notified,” said Raymond Ogletree, who has lived at the Arbors of Grandview for about two years. “But what if there was mistaken identity or something I didn't do or some child support or whatever the issue might be, and I happen to get evicted for something that I had  no control over.”

Ogletree was among several residents who turned out for a cookout Saturday at the Arbors, where Grandview Police kicked off the program and answered residents' questions.

A draft of the addendum provided to KCUR says a resident can be evicted if they or a guest in their appartment engage in criminal activity. According to the draft, a criminal conviction isn’t needed to evict a tenant. Instead, the manager can use “preponderance of the evidence.”

Traditional landlord-tenant law already allows a landlord to evict someone for committing a crime in their apartment, according to the UCLA Law Review. However, the addendums are notable because they hold the tenant responsible for the behavior of someone visiting their apartment. 

The Arbors of Grandview is among several apartment complexes in Grandview participating in the program, which started at a local police station in Arizona and has since spread to more than 2,000 cities, according to the International Crime Free Association.  

As part of the program, apartment managers and employees also are trained in crime reduction.

Grandview is offering the training to all the city's apartment complexes and wants to certify five to six by the end of next year.

Abors of Grandview manager Alba Sánchez said her main goal with the program is to have a safer community by making residents feel more comfortable reaching out to police by having her residents get to know police officers at events like Saturday’s cookout.

“A lot of times they call us three days later when something bad happens. And we ask them, ‘why didn’t you call the police?” Sánchez said. “And sometimes they're scared that their neighbor is going to know that they called, and they don't know that they can remain anonymous.”

Joann Thornton, who has lived at the Arbors of Grandview for eight years, said the program sounds fair. 

“I would trust her (Sánchez) to deal with the situation at hand,” Thornton said.

City inspector and planner Billie Hufford said the police won’t tell apartment management about misdemeanors like speeding, though the exact crimes that would be shared have yet to be determined. 

Hufford said she understands concerns that someone could be evicted when they haven’t been found guilty of a crime. 

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Credit Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3
Grandview Police Sgt. Greg Smith said community events like Saturday's cookout at the Arbors of Grandview help reduce crime.

“I definitely agree — innocent until proven guilty,” Hufford said. “... the management might know more about what's going on in a person's life. They would have the ability to talk to the person to learn more.”

Grandview Police Sgt. Greg Smith said crime in the city has dropped 12% from 2017 and 2018. He said programs like these will help continue the trend. 

“We want to keep crime going down and get the community involved,” Smith said. 

Aviva Okeson-Haberman is the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @avivaokeson

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