Owners of homes and apartment buildings plagued by crime now will be able to give police the right to intervene on those properties without first getting the owner's approval.
Tuesday, the Omaha City Council voted unanimously to expand the city's “closed property” ordinance to add residences, in addition to commercial properties. It's one of several tactics outlined by a task force formed by Mayor Jim Suttle to fight crime by targeting problem properties and landlords.
The ordinance is aimed at property owners who are absent and unavailable but does not include agricultural property. Signs would be posted, noting that a property was closed during certain hours.
If someone reported trespassers or other criminal activity, police could enter the property without waiting to check with the landlord.
Councilman Ben Gray said the expanded ordinance gives both police and residents more backup when they're trying to fight back against neighborhood problems.
“It's a move forward to stop individuals, especially those who want to engage in illegal activity, from doing so easily,” he said. “It gives some support to neighborhoods and neighborhood associations that the properties they own are going to be a little more secured.”
Gray said other recommendations from the landlord task force will show up at council meetings in the near future.
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