Rental Properties Causing Crime Concerns in Dover - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rental Properties Causing Crime Concerns in Dover

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A rental sign in the Lincoln Park neighborhood where people are concerned about those types of properties. (Photo: WBOC) A rental sign in the Lincoln Park neighborhood where people are concerned about those types of properties. (Photo: WBOC)
Reese and Paul Streets are two streets in the neighborhood where neighbors are upset about rental properties causing crime problems in the community. (Photo: WBOC) Reese and Paul Streets are two streets in the neighborhood where neighbors are upset about rental properties causing crime problems in the community. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- A community meeting in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Dover started just minutes after a shooting a couple of streets over.

The meeting was conducted by the 4th District council members and was the first quarterly meeting of 2016 to address issues like Tuesday's shooting.

Stanley Richardson lives in the neighborhood and was outspoken about rental properties in the neighborhood, saying they cause a good amount of the problems in the community.

"The guy [who did the shooting] supposedly jumped the fence and put it under the couch cushion [in the yard]," he said. "Rental property. It's like that you're invading their privacy when they're invading ours. We've been living here, they don't."

Ann Marie Townshend runs Dover's planning department, and she says 84 percent of the homes in the downtown development district are rentals. She says owners have a vested interest in bettering the community they live in, because their home is their investment.

"I don't think that the goal should be to eliminate rentals," she said. "That the goal really needs to be to bring back the balance of home ownership and rental to have a predominance of ownership with well-managed rentals."

The city is trying to create that culture of home ownership by providing tax incentives for a homeowner's first four years starting with no city taxes for the first. There are also partnerships with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. John Gallo, executive director of Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, said he has worked with people who rent who do want ownership opportunities but have struggled with it in the past.

"What we're doing is providing opportunities for homeowners through our construction of the new houses," he said. "And also we do a zero percent interest mortgage for thirty years. We're providing them this dream of home ownership in the downtown area, and we're building beautiful houses."

Richardson says he is just tired of people like his neighbor finding bullet holes in the sides of their homes.

"The bullet went through his tail pipe," he said. "If it went through the other side, gas tank. Another bullet hole over the top of his garage door. It could have went into his son's crib."

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