Town officials address crime in The Mansards

2012-10-16T21:45:00Z 2012-10-16T22:13:05Z Town officials address crime in The MansardsCHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent
October 16, 2012 9:45 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | The Town Council on Tuesday addressed concerns voiced by the Fraternal Order of Police earlier this month about police radios in The Mansards complex.

The FOP says hand-held radios often cannot reach the dispatcher when used inside The Mansards apartment buildings.

Radios from the Highland Police Department, and some new models, are now being tested, said council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd.

One major FOP concern not discussed Tuesday focuses on criminal activity associated with the apartment complex. This concern was discussed last week at the Griffith Safety Board meeting.

"We've had four shootings in the last six months there," Safety Board Chairman James Marker said last week.

Police Chief Ron Kottka said Mansards management does not seem interested when Mansards residents commit crimes outside the complex.

"It's a big problem, it really is," Kottka said.

Kotta said the complex should do a better job of screening prospective tenants.

However, the management says it cares if a Mansards resident commits a crime elsewhere in town.

"They have a criminal background check before they are accepted" as tenants, Linda Jacknow, senior vice president of Levalon Properties, said Monday.

"We are very strict on the 'three strikes and you're out' policy. Then we make them move," Jacknow said.

Jacknow said evicted tenants sometimes move into investment homes in Griffith.

"We have our own security guard company" that occupies each gatehouse and patrols the property, Jacknow said.

Guards are there from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. and teenagers are not allowed to walk through the complex in large groups, she said.

"We have a game plan in place" but are not ready to unveil it yet, Kottka said Thursday.

Detective Matt Argadine said Highland and Munster officers are willing to go into the complex with Griffith officers.

Detective Greg Mance suggested the department deal more aggressively with gang and drug activity at the complex.

Neither the police or Mansards management can make any more excuses, Town Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, said Friday.

"The Town Council must protect our citizens and declare war against the crime — and hold all those standing in the way accountable for their actions or inaction," Ryfa said in an email. "Excuses, at any level, will not be tolerated. Excuses will not make Griffith safer or solve the problems."

Jacknow said, "We cooperate any way we can."

During Tuesday's council meeting, Ryfa also said funding will be there to provide overtime when justified because the current force is down from 31 to 29 officers.

He also said vehicle insurance claim revenue will help replenish a fund to provide vehicle maintenance.

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