Dubuque battles crime through landlords - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque battles crime through landlords

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Landlords and property managers in Dubuque got more than they bargained for Tuesday. It was at a class the city gives to combat crime in rental units, called Dubuque's Crime-Free Multi-Housing Training program, aimed at lowering criminal activities in and around rental units.

Landlords who attended this day-long seminar said they were pleasantly surprised by the variety of topics covered.

Stasia Brannon, a landlord along with her husband Mike Brannon, attended the class Tuesday. The two own a handful of rental properties.

"There's so much to cover as a landlord between all of the different laws and building codes and city regulations," Brannon said.

It's why she and more than three dozen other Dubuque landlords and property managers gathered at the Northeast Iowa Community College Town Clock Center Tuesday to hear from law enforcement officials, the city's housing and fire departments and more.

"We're trying to provide a very comprehensive training seminar," Dubuque police public information officer Lt. Scott Baxter said.

Tips included everything from keeping property in good shape to deter theft, to how to conduct background checks on potential tenants -- something the city now requires landlords to do and provides free of charge.

"Rental properties are investment, and that's why it's important to screen your tenants," Brannon said. "You want to make sure that the people who are living in your property are going to take care of it."

The city also requires landlords to attend one of these day-long classes.

"I think you could walk through the doors here this morning, not knowing virtually anything about being a landlord or property manager and walk out feeling fairly confident that you're armed with the knowledge and resources to be successful, crime-free and safe," Baxter said.

"When the city can provide something like this that helps us and helps the city and, in turn, will help our tenants, it's a great service," Brannon said.

Statistically, Dubuque is at or below the average crime level within Iowa's top 10 largest cities, according to Unified Crime Reports (UCR) from the FBI.

Dubuque has two more of these full-day classes coming up early next year. One is on Saturday, Feb. 23 and the other is on Thursday, March 7. Sessions are always scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the NICC Town Clock Center in Dubuque. Landlords and property managers can register, which costs $30, at the NICC Town Clock Center for Professional Development by calling (563) 557-8271, ext. 380. or by visiting www.nicc.edu/continuinged and entering "crime-free housing" in the search field. Registrations are due one week prior to the session. The registration form is also available at the city's website here: www.cityofdubuque.org/DCFMHP.

The city also provides a landlord services page on its website here: http://www.cityofdubuque.org/index.aspx?NID=1599.

For more information, people can also contact Lt. Baxter at 563-589-4473 or sbaxter@cityofdubuque.org.

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