No city policy for apartment crime alerts

Students said they want to know when crime occurs in their community.
An armed robbery took place inside an apartment on Aug. 25 at The Grove. The Grove has a policy of alerting residents to crimes, but there are exceptions.

When four residents of The Grove were robbed at gunpoint in their apartment, their neighbors had no idea.

“The first time I heard about it was on the news,” MU freshman and Grove resident Karter Moran said of the Aug. 25 crime. “Then one of my friends, who lives near (the apartment), told me about it.”

Some Columbia apartment complexes do not have a policy to notify residents when crimes occur on the property.

There are no legal requirements from the city or state to alert tenants of crime other than a methamphetamine disclosure law. But the Columbia Police Department sends reports to the management of rental properties when a crime occurs on the property or when a resident is arrested.

Apartment complexes might consider alerting residents about crime, CPD Officer Tim Thomason said.

“From a liability standpoint, it’s in their best interest,” Thomason said.

There have been nine incidents of theft from Aug. 1 to Oct. 22 in three popular complexes: The Grove, Copper Beech Townhome Community and The Cottages of Columbia. Campus Lodge and The Reserve at Columbia had no crimes during that time, according to CPD reports.

The five complexes use similar security measures to protect their properties. These measures vary depending on the complex but can include private security patrol, on-call community assistants, complex lock systems and gates surrounding the premises.

The Reserve, which declined to comment, has not experienced a crime since April. Of the five, Campus Lodge is the only complex whose policy is to always report crimes to residents.

“Resident safety is more important than making face,” Campus Lodge Community Assistant Joe Pecoraro said of the complex’s policy.

Campus Crest, the company that owns and operates The Grove, has a policy to alert tenants of crime, but there are exceptions.

“Campus Crest does its best to keep residents informed of these types of situations,” Campus Crest spokesman Jason Chudoba said in an email. “However, the company has to be mindful of sharing information that could potentially jeopardize an investigation.”

Chudoba declined to comment on whether residents were contacted after the Aug. 25 robbery and the specifics of Campus Crest’s alert system.

Copper Beech and The Cottages did not explain why residents are not notified of crimes that occur on the premises.

Students said they would like to know about criminal activity that occurs near their home, but they feel safe in their living situations.

“Honestly, my top priority was just finding a nice place to live that didn’t have extremely expensive rent,” said freshman Ally Plume, who lives at The Reserve.

Plume said she would prefer to be alerted of crime as soon as it happens.

Sophomore Cassie Hurd, who lives at Campus Lodge, said she feels safe in the community.

“I’m more worried about (crime) on campus,” she said.

Moran said he feels safe at The Grove but gets worried when he hears about crime. He was also unnerved because the gates at his complex were open 24/7 until about six weeks ago.

The gates were open all day during the summer but now are open only during office hours, Grove sales manager Raven Owens said. Residents can open the gates using a radio frequency identification key during non-office hours.

The Grove takes pride in providing a safe living environment for college students, Campus Crest Director of Marketing Emily Rend said.

“The safety and security of our residents and guests that visit our property is our top priority,” Rend said in an email.

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