ASK THE DA: Increasing Building Security

September 21, 2012 Charles J. Hynes
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I am a landlord of an apartment building. My tenants have begun to complain to me about suspicious-looking people loitering and hanging out in the lobby and hallways. I’m afraid that, because of this nuisance, I will start losing good tenants. What can your office do to help me?

As a landlord, you along with your tenants can combat this behavior by enrolling in the Formal Trespass Affidavit Program, or F-TAP.  F-TAP is one example of my office’s response to citizen complaints regarding illegal activity, including drug sales in public areas of apartment buildings. The F-TAP program is a partnership between the district attorney’s office, tenants, building owners and the New York City Police Department.

In order to participate in F-TAP, landlords or managing agents are asked to sign an affidavit authorizing their local police to perform “vertical” patrols in their buildings. Along with the affidavit, a landlord must provide police with an up-to-date tenant list and keys that access common areas of the building. Landlords and managing agents are then required to prominently post signs throughout their building that read, “TENANTS AND THEIR GUESTS ONLY.”

For their part, the local police must photograph the signs in place, keeping a set of photographs at the precinct and sending copies of the photos to the DA’s office along with copies of the affidavits and the tenant list.

Once all of the steps outlined above are in place, your local precinct can schedule vertical patrols in your building.  F-TAP gives police the legal right to make a determination that a person is in a building legally.

Our homes are our sanctuaries. Criminal behaviors negatively impact the quality of life for all residents. By combining the resources of the district attorney’s office, landlords, building managers, tenants and local law enforcement can effectively combat criminal activity in multi-family dwellings.

To learn more information about F-TAP and how you can enroll your building in the program, contact my DA’s Action center by phoning 718-250-2340.

Charles Hynes is the Kings County District Attorney.

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