Crime Prevention & Crime Free Multi-Housing

Crime Prevention

The primary goal of the Crime Prevention Unit is to help educate citizens on how to reduce their risk of being a victim of crime. Crime effects all of us. It can endanger our personal safety, damage public and private property, create fear and lower our quality of life. Police and Community Partnerships create an opportunity to work together to improve the safety of our community. We do this by sharing information about neighborhood crime issues and discussing ideas and tips on how to solve and prevent them. The safety of our community is a shared responsibility and crime prevention is everybody’s business.

The Watertown Police Department has crime prevention specialists ready to assist you in any way necessary. They are your partners in crime prevention. The specialists provide many services. They will come to your home or business upon request to conduct a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) survey. This is an effort to harden your property against crime. They also provide presentations to businesses or community groups on a variety of topics to include Workplace Violence, Scam Avoidance, Robbery Prevention, Domestic Violence Awareness, and Internet Safety.
To schedule a survey or presentation, contact the Captain of Criminal Investigative Division Kirk Ellis at (605)882-5256.

Crime Free Multi-Housing

The Crime Free Multi-Housing (CFMH) program began in Mesa, Arizona in July 1992. It has spread across the Untied States and to Canada in a very short time. The Watertown Police Department adopted the program in 1998. The CFMH program is a unique, three phase certification program for rental properties of all sizes, including single family rental homes. The first phase is the completion of an eight-hour program taught by local law enforcement personnel. Frequently, guest speakers will also attend to address specific topics relating to rental properties. This police-sponsored program is designed to be very easy, yet extremely effective, at reducing criminal activity in rental properties. It is a cooperative effort between police, property managers and law abiding tenants. Click here to learn which properties in Watertown participate in the CFMH program.

CFMH addresses these topics:

  • Understanding Crime Prevention
  • C.P.T.E.D Concepts
  • The Application Process
  • Common Sense Self Defense
  • Community Rules/Leases
  • Apartment Communities/Not Complexes
  • Active Property Management
  • Combating Crime Problems
  • Police: To Serve and Protect?
  • Partnership with the Fire Department
  • Dealing with Non-Compliance
Typically, the CFMH program is taught during a single eight-hour day. Some police agencies will sponsor two four hour training sessions. The program is designed to be flexible, as many communities have differing needs.

Who should attend?

Property owners, managers, leasing staff, maintenance personnel and others in the management team should attend the entire 8-hour training program. It is also recommended that police officers attend the training to understand the civil nature of rental communities, and to establish a rapport with managers of rental properties.

Phase 1: Training

After completion of the eight hour training program, each participant will receive a certificate which has been signed by the chief law enforcement official of that community. The certificate is also signed by the program coordinator of the CFMH program, who sponsors the training.
A green certificate is to be immediately framed and displayed in the leasing office, or in a prominent place where applicants are sure to see it. Prospective residents should be told as soon as possible that the property management is working with the police to keep the community healthy. If there is no leasing office, a certificate can be displayed in a 3-ring notebook with other materials used in the CFMH program. The manager or owner should show the notebook to prospective residents.
Participating managers should also begin immediate implementation of the Crime Free Lease Addendum, which is the backbone of the CFMH program. This addendum to the lease cites specific actions that will be taken by management if a resident, or somebody under the resident’s control, is involved in illegal or dangerous activity on or near the rental property.
If the management is conducting a background check that includes credit and criminal information, the applicant should be informed before they turn in the application or pay any fees or deposits. Every prospective resident must be treated exactly the same as the others. It is important to develop office policies to ensure this.

Phase 2: CPTED Inspection

In the second phase of the program, a representative of the police department will inspect the rental property to assess the physical security and general appearance of the property. If the property meets the agency’s requirements, they will be given a second certificate signed by the chief law enforcement official.
A red certificate will certify the property has met the minimum security requirements of the CFMH program. The minimum security requirements for multi-family housing are:
  • One-inch throw on the deadbolt
  • 180 eye viewer in door
  • Three inch screws in the door jambs
  • Secondary locks on windows
  • Criminal History check on applicants
The minimum security requirements for mobile housing are:
  • Addresses posted on each mobile home
  • Criminal History check on applicants
  • C.P.T.E.D requirements of lighting and appearance

Phase 3: Safety Social

In the third and final phase of the program, the sponsoring law enforcement agency will conduct a “Safety Social” for residents at the rental property. This will include information about general safety principles and crime prevention, including Block Watch information. This will also give law enforcement the opportunity to explain the CFMH program to the residents of the rental community.
Management is responsible for providing food, non-alcoholic drinks and entertainment for this event. It is also recommended that property managers raffle door prizes as an added incentive to draw residents to the meeting. It is necessary to conduct at least one (1) meeting per year to maintain membership in the CFMH program.
A blue certificate will be issued at the safety social to demonstrate to the residents that management is committed and has completed all three phases of the program.

Full Certification

Once fully certified, the property manager will receive a gold certificate. This certificate is the only certificate that has an expiration date. It is renewed each year after the subsequent Safety Social has been conducted.
After completion of the first safety social, the management can post the CRIME FREE MULTI-HOUSING PROGRAM signs on the property. It is recommended that one sign be posted at each entrance to the property where prospective residents will see them.

Sign Registration

There is a one-time registration fee of about $39.95 for each sign. The sign is the property of the sponsoring police agency, and permission to display the sign can be revoked if the property is sold or the management no longer wishes to participate in the CFMH program.
An added incentive to reach full certification is the use of the program logo in all appropriate advertisements, as well as on company letterheads, business cards and associated paperwork.
This logo has achieved a very high level of recognition in the United States and Canada. It has proven very effective in attracting hones residents looking for safe housing. It has worked equally well to discourage those looking for an apartment unit for conducting criminal activities.

Maintaining CFMH signs

It is the responsibility of the management to maintain and replace all lost or damaged signs. Contact the Crime Free Program Coordinator if this occurs. Carefully consider how each sign is installed to prevent easy removal. Through bolts can be bent or stripped to prevent removal. Signs can be attached at a height that can not be easily reached.