Apartment complexes fighting crime with Tampa Police Department's Crime-Free Multi Housing Program

TAMPA, Fla. - A local apartment complex is now fighting crime side by-by-side with the Tampa Police Department.

"It's come a long way but we have more work to do," said Roxie Starrett, the property manager of Orchid Cove Apartments.

Residents say she turned the place upside down.

"I definitely would love people to come by here and be like man I remember when that place was really bad but they really fixed it up," Starrett said.

A year ago, Stephen, a tenant at the complex and a recovering addict, says drug dealers were knocking on his door making it hard to say no.

"I'm not a saint myself but I have the desire to be clean," Stephen said.

That is one reason Starrett began working with the Tampa Police Department to certify the complex as part of the Crime-Free Multi Housing Program.

Police say complexes that join up attract a more stable tenant base and create higher property values and lower maintenance repair costs.

"I know my residence. I know the police. I can bridge that gap," said Starrett.

Getting certified is a three phase process.

Property managers must complete an eight hour seminar to learn how to spot drug activity and the actions one should take if you find a tenant using drugs.

The complex must next meet security standards. Starrett was required to add peep holes in all the doors, trim back trees and make sure there is enough lighting so criminals have no place to hide. She also reworked the locks on some of the doors and added security cameras.

The last phase means accepting certification and posting certified signs posted on the property, sending a clear message to both residents and criminals.

"It's a good thing, definitely a good thing," said Stephen.

So far, Tampa Police is partnering with more than 140 properties in the city, which includes duplexes and single family residences being rented out.

To get your complex certified just contact the Tampa Police Department. Click here to learn more about the program.

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