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Police screening program targets 'nuisance tenants'

Jan 12, 2012 Matt Roesly

Alameda County, California, police officers are working with the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council and the Rental Housing Association of Northern Alameda County to eliminate "nuisance tenants" from their neighborhood, IndyBay reports. However, it appears they've taken their tactics to a questionable level, as images and DVDs are apparently being presented to landlords portraying the types of tenants they should avoid renting to, in an effort to create a crime free community. The primary target of this initiative is the mentally ill. Images that portray such people in a "ridiculous and extremely offensive manner" are being shown to landlords, encouraging them to evict. Police are also offering free tenant screening services for landlords, although they've been tight-lipped over how they are instructing the landlords to use this information. Bay Area activists believe these police-run programs create more homelessness for families, veterans, people on probation, the handicapped, elderly, parolees and low-income workers, not to mention the mentally ill. Landlords should be careful who they consider to have qualities of a "nuisance tenant." Children & Young People Now points to the example of one British woman who became depressed after she lost her job. If classified as mentally ill, people like her could be at risk for eviction, likely beginning a downward spiral that could lead to homelessness.