Friday, December 19, 2014

Officials: Apartments aren’t contributors to Fairfield crime

From page A4 | May 09, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — The hunt for reasons behind crime in the city led one resident to point to low-cost apartments as a cause – a conclusion city officials dispute.

The woman spoke during the April 30 community meeting about crime and said Fairfield had built many such multiple-family units.

“You are now paying the price,” she said.

Councilman John Mraz doesn’t think so.

“I don’t buy that,” he said. “There’s no huge increase in crime because someone lives in a multifamily development.”

Police Chief Walt Tibbet said building issues – such as how design can help prevent crime – arise but not the assertion that apartments contribute to crime.

“I don’t really get that one,” he said of issues raised with him about crime.

State Department of Finance figures for Fairfield show 8,101 multiple-family rental units, including condominiums, in the city – 21 percent of the housing stock.

Brian Miller, an associate planner for Fairfield, said rental units are a needed part of housing in a city with a range of incomes.

“The city needs to provide a variety of housing.” Miller said. “Not everyone wants to or can afford to, or chooses to, purchase a home.”

Vacaville reports 8,160 multiple-family residential units, including condominiums – 24.5 percent of the housing stock. A major apartment complex is now under construction on Quinn Road in Vacaville.

Emily Cantu, housing director for Vacaville, said crime and apartments is not a matter before city officials.

“I don’t think it arises as an issue,” said Cantu, who added that on occasion some people raise the matter.

Vacaville has more Section 8 housing vouchers than Fairfield. The vouchers are the federal government’s major program to assist low-income families, the elderly and disabled.

The Vacaville Housing Authority has a maximum of 1,193 vouchers and 1,074 now being  used. Fairfield reports 851 maximum vouchers with 810 now used.

Offenses, such as drug sales, can result in loss of vouchers. Councilman Mraz said the municipality monitors such matters carefully.

“We’re on Section 8 housing like a shark,” he said of Fairfield.

The City Council last September, after a staff report that the Bay Area boom in apartment construction bypassed Fairfield because developers believe high city impact fees prevent profitably building apartments, cut park and recreation development impact fees by 50 percent.

The measure reduced the $4,285 per-unit fee to $2,143 and associate planner Miller said developer inquiries to the city about multiple-family unit construction, as well as single-family homes, have followed.

No significant apartment construction has occurred in Fairfield since state Department of Finance figures were released in 2010, according to the city.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or


Discussion | 14 comments

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  • General Fadi BasemMay 08, 2014 - 8:34 pm

    For the article which discusses Janikowski and Betts study of the correlation of Section 8 housing vouchers and crime just google "section 8 and crime Hanna Rosin" and choose the first link. It's title is "American Murder Mystery - Hanna Rosin - The Atlantic".

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  • Rick WoodMay 08, 2014 - 9:33 pm

    Maybe there is a correlation between the increase in crime and single family homes that are rentals, though I doubt that is the cause. I believe home ownership encourages strong neighborhoods and strong neighborhoods discourage property crimes, at least. A strong neighborhood has signs people care, such as well maintained streets and landscaping, low graffiti, and low litter. The City and police should be experts on this subject--how does urban design and character affect crime? Instead of reacting to questions like this, they should be putting forth the positive message of what we should be doing based on the best research available.

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  • omydarlimg91May 09, 2014 - 12:38 am

    Yea the crimes are actually happening in residential home areas not always low jncome area. Finalyy somebody is saying so so they can start looking at the real problem. I would agree with Rick Wood. I would say the crimes are hapoening in reputable neighborhoods and they have lots of rental homes. I would say that before i would say they have a low income crime problem. There is a new definition of low income because low income people are renting HOMES in the nicer areas too. They have cars, hell, they spend money on rentals. Some people get so much social security checks and welfare benifits and food stamts to DEDINITLY feed and house a family.

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  • 2realMay 09, 2014 - 2:34 am

    Agree. Not everyone can afford to live in or buy a house so to say to stop building multifamily housing is absurd. Ive said crime is happening more in residential areas these days. Not high density areas like moy tried to say. Youd be suprised how many people rent out whole houses and have nothing but weed throughout the damn place. Rancho and paradise are not exempt. Everyone is so focused on these lower income areas that its happening right below your nose, Right in your own backyard.crime knows no particular neighborhood.

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  • Rich GiddensMay 09, 2014 - 7:10 am

    Every section 8 neighbor we have had next to our home caused problems with illegal or nuisance activities. Kids climbing over fences damaging them and tresspassing in our backyard. Loose dogs tunnelling under the fence into our backyard or constantly barking and loose on the streets menacing people and attacking other animals in backyards.. Kids screaming at 7am in the backyard. Overgrown and neglected properties that neither homeowner or the government of traitors will address. Then there's the parties with animals fighting, screaming the n and f word late at night with rap music etc---again, that the landlord or the government of traitors won't address. But there's no correlation between renter scum, government and crime. None! You must believe!

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  • Educate yourselfMay 09, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    My family rents our home in a very nice neighborhood. However, YOU just described quite perfectly the home-owning family right next door to us. You are a pompous, self-righteous prick Rich Giddens. You are the scum.

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  • archieMay 09, 2014 - 5:46 pm

    haha nice,,,,,,, haven't heard prick in long time

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  • The MisterMay 09, 2014 - 7:27 am

    The solution to pollution is dilution. High-density housing concentrates pollution into one spot until it begins to stink. It's been stinkin' a lot recently.

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  • AdamMay 09, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Yes, but how many of these "multi-family" units are restricted to senior retirement communities? A good chunk in Vacaville is for senior citizens and Fairfield has a very small percentage. It's not rocket science folks.

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  • Grumpy GusMay 09, 2014 - 1:09 pm

    Yes exactly, Benicia also has multi-family gov assisted housing and it is all senior housing... That is how you do it... We built these complexes 20-40 years ago, they were nice, multi- family - 'air force enlisted' off base housing.. They are now run down, poorly managed, investments for out of towners... To have the police chief and JM say there is no connection between phoenix, dana, travion, etc. etc. gang entrenched apartment complexes, shows how truly out of touch they are. We are not even having the same conversation! We are talking about two very different things... They are talking crime like car burglaries, residential break-ins which happen in the nicer areas because they have better stuff and macbooks layin' on the seats. We are talking bullets flying, dead bodies dumped along railroad tracks, prostitution and drug dealing... And if they think there is the same amount of that emanating from Paradise, Rancho, and Cordelia... They have got to go!

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  • Mr. SmithMay 09, 2014 - 1:33 pm

    Grumpy Gus: Your comment, unfortunately, is right on target. We went through this about 20+ years ago when people were complaining about the crime rate and the city manager and/or the mayor opined that the public was incorrect--it was only a "perception" that was out there. After these comments from our officials, I get the feeling we are going to see some more cheap apartments being built in the near future. SMH.

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  • KaitlynMay 09, 2014 - 2:29 pm

    It is a fact that Benicia has affordable senior housing units, but they also have the only Public Housing development in Solano County. In addition to that, they have a tax credit development and another housing authority run development. Maybe 275 units?!

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  • General Fadi BasemMay 09, 2014 - 6:37 pm

    Hope you all enjoyed reading the article I provided a link to earlier. It is refreshing to read something fact-based rather than the nonsense provided by the vote-for-me-in-the-next-election politicians, who have no real knowledge, just an off-the-cuff line of BS meant to cover over their inability to deal with real world problems. "Watching like a hawk"??? What does that mean??

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  • Dr RussMay 09, 2014 - 6:47 pm

    Section 8 tenants aren't solely housed in apartment complexes. My buddy lived across from Sec8 renters for almost two years. "We’re on Section 8 housing like a shark,” This statement by Mraz is complete BS. In the time they lived in the house, the tenants "Boo" severely beat her on a regular basis. The family could not pay their trash or electric bill. Their solution was to dump their garbage over their neighbors fence when he was TDY. They also ran extension cords to the same neighbors power outlets to run their appliances. When he was home, they would run generators constantly. At one point they moved a "white boy" in who began making meth in the back bedrooms. After years of complaining to the city and the PD, the city was able to get the family out of the house. Of course on their way out, they trashed the house deliberately. Imagine putting up with this for two years. Mr. Mraz is obviously not impacted by Sec8, and therefore does not care. "Let them eat cake," eh Mr. Mraz?

    Reply | Report abusive comment

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