Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Apartment establishes new program to battle crime, improve communication

Building captains appointed at Gates of Cipriano

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So residents’ concerns can be heard at the Gates of Cipriano, an apartment complex in unincorporated Greenbelt, building captains are being recruited at each of the complex’s 66 buildings.

To address safety and other issues, as well as open the lines of communication between tenants and management, the building captains will meet monthly and devise plans to solve community problems, said Dale Shama, a community activist.

‘‘We want our residents to know that safety is a very important aspect of Laramar Group,” said Chris Henry, Gates of Cipriano property manager. ‘‘Crime is not a real issue here, but we want to have the tools in place so residents know safety is a top priority and we can take the proper approaches and measures to address it.”

The Laramar Group, a Colorado-based real estate company, has owned and managed Gates of Cipriano, which has about 800 residents, since July 2007.

Shama, who lives in Lanham, said he hopes to get more than seven building captains and residents at the next apartment meeting, to be held 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14 in the rental office. Building captains, who volunteer for their positions, meet the second Thursday of the month.

Theresa Bailey, a building captain, said her responsibilities include welcoming new residents in her building, notifying residents of new rule changes and reporting problems that are in and around her building.

‘‘We are like the go-between for residents and management,” said Bailey, 38, a six-year tenant. ‘‘I am encouraged about this new effort. Hopefully this will allow us to work out problems residents had with prior management and safety.”

It’s a move that has been appreciated by many residents.

‘‘I am all for [building captains],” said Larry Bullock, a Gates of Cipriano tenant. ‘‘Safety here is fine. You’ll have some youth standing around in the hallways sometimes but overall, Gates of Cipriano is a quiet neighborhood.”

Other efforts by management to improve safety at the Gates of Cipriano have included the opening of a police office next month, where the sheriff’s department, state and county police can operate from. The complex also has the Aggressive Dog Breed Program, where residents report people with illegal dogs to management.

County police officers from District 2 respond to crimes at the Gates of Cipriano. Henry said to keep residents safe, the complex also has its own private security.

In 2007, there were 17 car thefts and burglaries at the complex.

Diane Richardson, a county police spokeswoman, said from 2006 to 2007 there were no homicides or rapes at the Gates of Cipriano, formerly known as Brittany Place. Over two years, five robberies, 47 larcenies and 18 burglaries were committed on the premise.