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COLUMN

Happytown

Mike Haridopolos gets sanitized, Teresa Jacobs conjures DPAC magic and rich people in apartments can feel a lot safer now

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mother Teresa: Can the queen of the county magically save the performing arts center?


The concept is simple: If you get arrested for a violent crime, you can be evicted, thanks to a regularly updated database of criminal events populated by police and supplied to apartment managers participating in the program. Once that scarlet e-letter of a felony is attached to your name, you'll be barred from living in any complex featuring the seal of approval from the International Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, a nonprofit that started in Arizona in 1992 and has spread to more than 2,000 U.S. cities and a handful of wildly diverse countries, including, we shit you not, Afghanistan.

To have access to the database, however, apartment complexes must first meet the nonprofit's standards on everything from peepholes to deadbolts to parking-lot lighting. The latter, we hear, is the "key" to making an area safer, and thanks to God's cruel design, is also the hardest to afford. "Lighting is not cheap," Officer Derwin Bradley, the Orlando Police Department's lead man on the program, told us. "It's 10 to 15 grand to even think about improving lighting."

We can hear the hamster wheels creaking in your head. You ask: Was the program unveiled not in a shoddy complex in a high-crime area, but a gated community near, say, an upscale mall, featuring spike strips and putting greens? You've got it! Against the backdrop of an expansive pool at the Fountains at Millenia, on Feb. 3 OPD awarded its first crime-free certificates to seven Orlando apartment complexes, one of which features "Country Club" in its name. After the conference, we asked Bradley the obvious question: How would shoddy complexes in high-crime areas afford to make the necessary improvements to qualify for this boutique crime-stopping database?

"That's a good question," he replies, and tells us that he'll be petitioning high and low - the city, the county and even Uncle Sam - for some grant money. Pony up, Buddy!

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