JOPLIN, MO.--- A Joplin apartment building is certified by police officers as "crime free." Managers had to complete three phases to achieve this designation. The overall goal is to help make apartment complexes a little safer.
"We've seen crime reduction at every property that's participating with us," said Cpl. Brian Henderson, Joplin Police Department.
With the completion of the Crime Free Program, managers of Messenger Towers hope their building becomes a safer place.
"When you come some place and see that we are aware of our environment and surroundings, and that anyone who may have inclination to do anything shady or so forth, will therefore be deterred by the physical representations of this program," said Coby McGhee, Messenger Towers Manager.
Receiving certification is no easy task.
"What it starts off as is a three-phase program, and we work to make the properties a better place and try to make the quality of life better for the citizens of Joplin," said Henderson.
Managers have to take eight hours of classes, learning everything from recognizing drugs to identifying crime. They also have to make sure their building is up to standards set by police officers.
"Make sure the lights are working, make sure the bushes are cut low so that they can see people aren't hiding behind them, as well as making sure there are proper safety standards being met for the hardware in the building so that people can't just kick in doors," said McGhee.
The final phase requires managers to host a party to build relationships with their tenants.
"The manager has to be, they have to be willing to watch their properties and they have to be proactive and going out, and they have to have their ear out to their residents and allow the residents to talk to them and know what's going on," said Henderson.
The idea is to create a three way partnership between police officers, apartment managers and residents, ultimately leading to a safer apartment community.
"People are afraid to speak up, and what this program does is it actually promotes that activity where they can go to management and say, 'hey when we go to management we know this is going to be taken care of, and that we're committed to being crime free," said McGhee.
North Park Apartments was the first complex to be certified in September of 2012. Since then, officers have seen a 40% reduction in calls for service from that residency .
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