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January 27, 2010 > For a safer city

For a safer city

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By courtesy of Officer Robyn Berlin

The Crime Free Multi-Housing (CFMH), a partnership between police and local property owners/managers, is designed to make multi-family dwellings and single family rental homes safe. Property owners, managers, assistant managers, leasing agents, office staff, maintenance staff and all who work with housing are encouraged to participate in the program.

Founded in Mesa, Arizona, the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program (CFMH) began in 1992 as an effort to rid rental-housing communities of crime, drugs and gangs. The program includes three phases to achieve a safe environment: Phase I is an eight-hour management training course taught by the police (Green certificate); Phase II is a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) survey administered by the police (Red certificate); and Phase III is community awareness training, held as a social event, in which management of rental-housing property and police teach crime prevention to the residents (Blue certificate).

There is no charge for the three phases and they need not be completed in any particular order. Once all three phases have been successfully completed, a gold certificate is issued and with it, the right to post a CFMH program sign owned by the City, as well as advertising membership within the CFMH program in the media. The certificate expires each year unless renewed by holding another community awareness training social event.

The program has come a long way since it started in April 2008. Even with limited staffing, according to CFMH program coordinator, Officer Robyn Berlin, a total of 29 communities are currently fully certified in Fremont including two condominium developments and Southland Mobile Home Park. "Each year the certified communities have to go through a re-inspection, five C.A.R.E. Volunteers go with me on patrol and I give them a list of the certified communities, which they randomly inspect," said Berlin.

"We do specific safety social [gatherings] in case a community is facing burglaries, thefts." Crime prevention strategies include lighting the area, removing graffiti, trimming shrubs, maintaining visible addresses for police to locate easily, special locks on doors and double locks on windows.

The next eight hour Crime Free training class will be on March 16, 23 and 31 discussing gangs, drugs and the crime free program. On March 31, an attorney will talk about fair housing, eviction laws and conviction liabilities.

Benefits of fully certified communities are obvious. Southland Mobile Park's inspection records show 12 crime reports reduced to two with no arrests, a reduction by almost 86 percent in calls due to the program.

Berlin will hand over the responsibility to Officer Kim MacDonald who will be the program's coordinator starting June this year. "We have multi-housing, mobile housing condominiums, town home and rental housing, any type of rentals. We would like to include hotel, motel, mini-storage, businesses," said Berlin.

For more information about Crime Free Program visit www.fremontpolice.org. Those interested in volunteering should be at least 21 years of age. To get started with the program, register for the class or if you wish to volunteer, contact Officer Robyn Berlin at rberlin@ci.fremont.ca.us or (510) 790-6908.


Crime Free Training
Tuesdays, March 16, 23 and Wednesday, March 31
6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Fremont Police Department
2000 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont
(510) 790-6908
www.fremontpolice.org

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