The Clovis Police Department has pulled a proposed “Crime-Free Housing Program” from Monday’s city council agenda.
The initial proposal included a requirement that landlords provide a list of occupants to the police chief upon request. It also required building managers to be trained by the police department and mandated “appropriate background checks” and a “crime-free lease addendum” for all renters.
The addendum required residents, and any of their guests to “live a crime-free lifestyle.” A violation of any provision could cause a termination of the lease.
Cpl. Chris Berna said the department wrote the proposal after speaking to landlords, managers, and tenants.
“Since it hit the agenda, we were contacted by a couple of groups we weren’t able to reach out to or that we missed,” Berna said of why the item was pulled.
The police department will now reach out to those groups and address any concerns. Berna said one of those groups it will contact is the California Apartment Association. It is one of the nation’s largest apartment trade groups.
Greg Terzakis, the senior vice president of the Greater Fresno CAA chapter, says he likes the intent of the ordinance, but the city needs to work on the practicality of its language. Terzakis called it “too vague.”
Call Volume Higher
“I have confidence in Clovis leadership that they will evaluate this policy to make sure that it is meeting its intended outcomes without having unintended consequences.” — Fresno Housing Authority executive director Preston Prince
In its initial staff report, the police department said its calls for service at multi-family units were greater than single-family homes — mainly due to a “higher density of people occupying a smaller area of property.”
Berna said a similar program exists in Kerman and other cities in the state.
The Fresno Housing Authority is in the planning stages of a project in Clovis. The group’s executive director/CEO Preston Prince says their tenants are screened.
“Providing a safe place for all residents is important to us. We work closely with the local police departments where our housing is located,” Prince said. “I have confidence in Clovis leadership that they will evaluate this policy to make sure that it is meeting its intended outcomes without having unintended consequences, particularly disparate impact on various demographics, particularly people of color who have already experienced historical biases of California’s criminal justice system.”
Revision of ‘Confidential List’
Berna said the department will rework the provision regarding landlords keeping the names of tenants.
“The intent of it is for active calls, things that are occurring now, that officers are on scene and they need information on who is in that apartment,” Berna said.
He specifically referred to situations such as ongoing threats or assaults.
“Right now, we are a city that is expanding rapidly. As a police department, we are finding it difficult to keep up with that growth. We want to do whatever we can to reduce the calls we have to respond to,” Capt. Curt Fleming said.
As the ordinance reads, failure to comply could be a misdemeanor. But Berna said the likelihood of enforcing that is “slim to none.”