Thursday, February 25, 2010

What can police do about foreclosures?

How many home foreclosures can a neighborhood withstand?

There is no doubt mortgage foreclosures have destroyed neighborhoods across America. So do the police have a role in helping improve things? Is that really their role?

Says one police leader:

"Mortgage foreclosures continue to take their toll on neighborhoods across America. A recent USA Today article indicates that mortgage foreclosure filings jumped by 46% in March 2009 over 2008 as temporary moratoriums lapsed. It is clear that police will continue to face the impact of foreclosures on neighborhoods for some time to come."

By anyone's definition of what makes a good Police Chief, Darryl Stephens is that person. Chief of agencies in St. Petersberg, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina, he has led innovative ideas in law enforcement for a generation.

The Community Safety Initiative folks at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation just recently published Chief Stephens thoughts regarding the foreclosure crisis and what police can do about it. It reinforces points made by Brent Teasdale and Lynn Clark in an earlier blog (soon to appear in the March issue of CPTED Perspective).

The question is what to do about a problem that police have traditionally had nothing to do with. Some ideas in his article include

* Homebuyer education,
* Foreclosure counseling,
* Neighborhood Stabilization funds,
* Reduce high crime in troubled neighborhoods to create safe conditions for contractors to rehab homes for resale,
* Getting contractors to do maintenance on homes that would otherwise be boarded up and abandoned (and thereby vulnerable for use by drug dealers).

Check it out.

Stephens Foreclosures LISC Article

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4 Replies so far - Add your comment

  1. i'll be glad to comment on what we do in Australia.


  2. Yes, please do. Police involvement in foreclosures is a very new thing here in the U.S. Chief Stephens doesn't specify, but I doubt more than 5% of most American police agencies do much of anything in this regards. I've been searching for info on Canada to no avail. Would love to hear the Australian situation!

  3. in almost every problem analysis class I teach, at least 1 agency has the problem of foreclosures and burglaries, it's huge... the police in Indio, California did some innovative strategies -

  4. Thanks Julie for that link. That is a great award submission by Chief Ramos from Indio, CA. He's obviously the latest forward-thinking police exec dealing with foreclosures proactively - in this case a new ordinance. My favorite line from that article: "Our information shows that realtor-listed homes registered and maintained in accordance with the ordinance are selling at a faster rate".

    Talk about a win-win in a no-win economy!


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