Many people assume that the housing authority harbors criminals, and in some other metro areas, that may be true. However, in Conyers, it is just the opposite.
There are not any other apartment complexes in this county that monitor criminal activity as we do. As the director of the Conyers Housing Authority, I take it personally when I hear these comments directed towards us when I know how hard we strive to ensure our properties are extremely safe for our residents and guests.
In order to assure this is accomplished we take extra steps to screen who we accept in as a tenant. We conduct a criminal history at the time of admission and do not allow anyone to become a resident if he or she is a convicted felon regardless of the conviction date. We also restrict those with misdemeanor convictions within five years of their application for housing.
Once they are admitted, we continue to monitor their criminal history by running their background again every time they are due to renew their lease. This ensures any new arrests are brought to our attention.
Any felony arrests, not convictions, but just an arrest can result in an immediate eviction. Any misdemeanor arrests of a violent nature, theft, property damage, or any other crime that could jeopardize the peaceful enjoyment of our residents can also result in an immediate eviction.
We monitor the police blotter on a regular basis to catch arrests as soon as they occur so we can react appropriately.
We maintain close relationships with the Conyers police so that they will typically contact us to inform us of any incidents or arrests on our properties. We monitor our neighborhood cameras on a regular basis to ensure all is well throughout our community.
We wanted to prove to the community that our management techniques work, so we launched a study of crimes reported in all of our eight neighborhoods consisting of 290 apartment units.
We accessed criminal activity logs provided by the Conyers Police Department for the entire year of 2012. We did the same for the other publicly labeled “high crime areas” in the area such as Forest Villas, Pinedale, Meadows Crossing (formerly Highland Orchard) and Eastmont Townhomes.
Conyers Housing Authority: 290 occupied apartments, 28 crimes reported, 9 percent crime rate
Eastmont Towne Homes: 60 occupied apartments (approximate), 23 crimes reported, 39 percent crime rate
Meadows Crossing: 150 occupied apartments (approximate), 56 crimes reported, 38 percent crime rate
Pinedale: 110 occupied apartments (approximate), 55 crimes reported, 50 percent crime rate
Forest Villas: 175 occupied apartments (approximate), 43 crimes reported, 26 percent crime rate
I have been monitoring our criminal activity for several years now, and these results have remained consistent under my current administration. I’d like to think that our apartments are among the safest apartments in the city, but at some point, I’d like to say that they are the safest.
Until then, I will continue to enforce our rules and regulations in order to maintain this high level of safety in our neighborhoods and I hope to prove to the Conyers community that our housing authority residents are very good, law-abiding people.
Gary Erwin is the director of the Conyers Housing Authority. He can be reached at email@example.com.