Take 7 Steps to Reduce Loitering at Your Tax Credit Site
Nonresident loitering is a safety issue and a common complaint of tax credit managers—especially those in urban areas. Loiterers, who can range from skateboarding teenagers to homeless people to criminals to ex-spouses involved in domestic disputes, can create lots of problems for managers. For example, they can diminish the site's curb appeal, pose security problems, and increase the maintenance and cleaning staff's workload. Here are seven steps you can take to reduce loitering at your site
1. Get Police to Enforce Trespass Laws
By law, loiterers on private property are considered trespassers. Most states and localities have laws prohibiting trespassing and make trespassing punishable by fines or even jail time. Some states' trespass laws require owners to post a sign that clearly says “no trespassing” and that lists the section of the law that prohibits trespassing and its potential consequences. This serves as “notice” that trespassing is illegal.
Once an owner posts such a sign, the local police department will enforce the trespass laws if a trespasser doesn't leave after being asked to do so. Ask your attorney or local police department what your state or local government's trespass laws are and what you must do to get the police to enforce them at your tax credit site.
2. Require Residents to Report Nonresidents Who Loiter
In your site rules, consider requiring residents to report instances of nonresident loitering to you or the police. This rule encourages your residents to be vigilant and reduces the likelihood of crime at your tax credit site. It's also a good idea to post signs at your site's entrances warning potential trespassers that your site is private property and that loitering is unlawful and won't be tolerated.
3. Have Proper Lighting
Homeless people and criminals typically look to hang out in poorly lit areas of a site to avoid being spotted. So inspect your tax credit site for areas that may provide loiterers with a cover of darkness. If you find such areas, consider installing extra lights there to discourage loiterers.
4. Close Off Means of Unauthorized Access
Loiterers will trespass by taking advantage of any breaches in the methods you use to limit access to your tax credit site. For instance, they'll crawl through holes in fences or enter through crawl spaces under gates. So make sure you close off any means of unauthorized access to discourage outsiders from trying to get in.
5. Maintain Curb Appeal
A tax credit site that's well maintained sends the message that the owner will enforce its rules. On the other hand, a site that appears run-down sends the message that the owner doesn't care and won't do anything about trespassers. By keeping your site clean and well maintained—in other words, maintaining its curb appeal—you may be able to keep loiterers away.
6. Lock Vacant Units
Vacant units are attractive hangout spots for loiterers. To prevent loitering in vacant units, periodically check that doors and windows of vacant units are locked and that loiterers haven't broken in.
7. Get Truant Officer's Help
If school-age children are trespassing at your tax credit site during school hours, ask your local truant officer to come and get them.