Crime free rental housing coming soon to Union Gap

UNION GAP, Wash. -- The Union Gap Police Department is working on implementing the city's first Crime Free Rental Housing program.

We've seen their success in creating safer neighborhoods in places like Yakima and Sunnyside.

Now Union Gap wants to follow the trend and create their own Crime Free Rental Housing program.

Police have noticed an upward trend in crime and want to put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.

"We're trying to be proactive about this, we've seen that our neighbors have been very successful in implementing their crime free rental housing and we want to take advantage of those successes and implement something before we find ourselves in a position where we have to do something," said Greg Cobb, Union Gap Police Chief.

KIMA asked if high crime numbers from rentals are a cause for the program, but Union Gap police told Action News they've never before tracked crime rates to rental properties specifically.

But implementation of this program will allow them to do just that.

They'll be on the watch for drugs, gangs, and crime in general.

And they'll work on prevention through education.

Police say as part of the crime free housing program they work with landlords to help them deter crime in their neighborhoods through simple steps such as making sure there's sufficient lighting and peepholes in the front door.

"Things to help them pick the right tenants to begin with," said Cobb.

"We all want to have safer place for our tenants to live you know, and if you can have a safe place for people to live then they'll benefit, we'll benefit, they'll stay longer," said Roger Wilson, Owner of Wilson Real Estate Management.

At his properties in other cities with the program already in effect, Roger Wilson has even been able to coordinate with police to help them arrest wanted persons as they're evicted from his rental properties.

All in an effort for safer neighborhoods.

There'll be a public hearing in Union Gap to get feed back on the program just before Thanksgiving.