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Editorials

Landlords, DeKalb must work together to improve security

Damage is shown from the roof collapsing in early November at the former home of Campus Cinemas, 1015 Blackhawk Drive, DeKalb. The city obtained a search warrant to enter the building and found severe water damage, mold and structural deterioration.
Damage is shown from the roof collapsing in early November at the former home of Campus Cinemas, 1015 Blackhawk Drive, DeKalb. The city obtained a search warrant to enter the building and found severe water damage, mold and structural deterioration.

Rental property owners in DeKalb must protect tenants and others from violent crime by having working security cameras to record common areas of their buildings.

We first wrote this in April after a resident at the West Ridge Apartments in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood was hit over the head and robbed outside their home. There were no cameras working at the property, which police said hampered their investigation.

Seven months later, we’re pleased to see city officials making some noise about this issue. Now is the time for landlords and city officials to work collaboratively to protect residents in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood and elsewhere.

More alarming crimes have occurred after that brazen attack in April, including several incidents involving gunfire. Police said an October gunfight between two people who fired about 20 shots at each other is among those that could have been solved if apartment buildings in the area had working security cameras.

Twenty bullets flying around a busy area on a warm Friday night – it’s amazing that neither the people involved nor any innocent bystanders were shot.

The two shooters that night could be on the street, armed and dangerous. One or both of them might be felons who could face prison time if they are found to be in possession of a gun.

That would be the preferred outcome: People who treat Greenbrier Road like the O.K. Corral need to go.

Crime can not always be pre-empted, but cities and neighborhoods can make themselves less appealing targets. Video surveillance equipment, and signs announcing its use, can discourage criminals or at least help police make arrests after they occur.

A working security system can also be used by landlords as a selling point – after all, most people would prefer to live in a secure, monitored building rather than one where someone can bash you over the head, rob you and get away without being seen.

DeKalb city officials should work with the DeKalb Area Rental Association and other stakeholders to establish reasonable rules, timetables and expectations for all multifamily apartment buildings to install and maintain security cameras in common areas.

We understand there are financial considerations. It’s probably not necessary for, say, a private security guard to be on hand to continuously monitor the video stream.

But it is in everyone’s best interest to increase the video monitoring in areas where crime has been an issue.

City officials and property owners should work together to make this happen to protect residents and assist police in pursuit of criminals.

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