County Board Supervisor Ken Lumpkin has an interesting idea to solve crime in his district's neighborhood: get cops to live there.
Steep discounts on homes for police officers is one part of Lumpkin's three-part plan to address crime on the city's near north side. Lumpkin represents the area on the County Board and hopes to serve the area on the City Council, as well. He's up for election for both offices this spring.
For the first phase, Lumpkin wants to create a Police Home Loan Program, which would takes abandoned or condemned houses or seized crack houses and offer them to policemen for $1. The program would also provide the officers with a low-interest loan to improve the dwelling.
The Police Home Loan Program would be a part of the city's community-oriented policing model, which is designed to place officers in neighborhoods where they can get to know people and help them address problems.
Lumpkin said his plan is designed to promote better neighborhoods and to fight crime at the same time.
"The city already have a program to create homeowners by providing down payment and low-interest fix-up loans to city residents," he said. "This would extend these resources to officers wishing to make a dramatic difference in the city."
To purchase a $1 house, officers would have to make a five-year-commitment to live in the neighborhood. The home would have to be located in the present five-census track area.
"Officers who live in the community are more understanding of their neighbors and can better service them," Lumpkin told listeners at one of his ten listening sessions he is holding throughout the 4th District.
"I feel strongly that we must take new steps to curb crime in a way that we can put problem-solvers measures back in the neighborhoods," Lumpkin said.
The second part of Lumpkin's plan would be a negotiable merit pay incentive for officers who are willing to live in high-crime census tracks.
"We already know the benefits of our COP Houses are doing throughout the central city," Lumpkin said. "Couple that with officers living in the neighborhood, the result can only be the reduction of crime."
The last part of his three-step plan is to bring people who make the decisions for the police department closer to the people in the neighborhood.
"In order for there to be good relationships between the police department and the community the two must be engaged with each other," Lumpkin told supporters.
He wants to work with the Fire and Police Commission in order to hold several Commissioner meeting at neighborhood community centers.
Lumpkin said that few people in the inner-city realized that the Commission is the governing body of the police department.
"These session would allow the commissioners to hear the voices of the people that police officers are sworn to protect," Lumpkin said.