LARGO, Md. (DC News Now) — The newest effort to deter crime was passed by the Prince George’s County Council on Tuesday. The new legislation requires working surveillance cameras at apartment complexes and senior living facilities.
“We have at least seven times where the cars have been broken into, and it’s scary for us,” said a senior resident.
After several complaints of carjackings, robberies and auto thefts in apartment complexes across the county, residents don’t feel safe in their own homes. This new legislation is one step closer to changing that.
“We do think that some of the simple amenities should be implemented and frankly, we want people to feel safe,” said Council Member Wala Blegay.
The bill will require apartment complexes and senior living facilities to have working surveillance cameras to help deter crime, but a big concern for some council members and apartment complexes is the cost and its effectiveness.
“The initial costs were upwards of two and a half million dollars,” said Laurie Bonner, Vice President of Operations for Fieldstone Properties in Maryland. “In our experience, we do have cameras in our highly traffic common areas, and we’ve caught crime on camera, and it has led to nothing so it doesn’t deter crime.”
Bonner says this mandate could lead to increasing rent prices.
“Aside from raising rent, which is not something that we would want to do,…we also have to defer other capital dollars that we had earmarked for other projects,” said Bonner.
Blegay says they’re hoping to offer a rebate of up to $5,000 to help apartment complexes pay for the cameras.
“I feel it shouldn’t increase rent, but we also have rent stabilization to make sure that rent does not shoot up,” said Blegay. “The benefits outweigh the costs, It’s a small amenity for the residents who deserve it.”
The next step the council plans to take is to work with the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement to ensure they are enforcing this new law.