Business Safety Leaders
Minto Apartments, Business Safety Leader
Minto Apartments Limited provides rental accommodations throughout Ontario, and manages more than 8,000 homes in the Ottawa area. In 1996, the Ottawa-Carleton Police Service approached Minto’s Corporate Emergency Services Department about piloting the Crime Free Multi-Housing program in Minto’s rental buildings.
The Crime Free Program involves three elements:
- An inspection of all buildings under the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program;
- Training in crime prevention and security management for all employees who participate in the program; and,
- A comprehensive screening process run by the landlord on new residents who apply to live in Crime Free units, including criminal background searches.
Minto was quickly convinced of the program’s merits, and decided to jump in with a pilot project.
The company took on a variety of projects, including enhancing lighting in buildings, trimming hedges, training staff on safety initiatives, educating residents on building safety features, and working closely with police. In 1999, upon a thorough evaluation, the police judged the pilot program a complete success. The program was then expanded to additional Minto communities and by 2004, all 46 of Minto’s qualifying buildings were enrolled in the Crime Free Program.
The company’s belief that “what is good for our community is good for us” has guided its involvement in this initiative, which has seen more than a million dollars invested in it so far. It has helped create safer communities for Minto residents and has also helped to educate residents about community safety and crime prevention. This education helps empower residents to enhance their safety and to work with landlords and police and if issues arise.
December 2009 will be the 5th Anniversary of Minto’s full enrolment in the Crime Free program. Minto invests significantly every year on building upgrades to comply with program standards, to perform criminal records checks on prospective tenants and to provide staff training. Minto’s tenants are very pleased with the results of the program, as is the Ottawa Police Service.
Because of the success of Minto’s Crime Free Housing program, The Ottawa Police Service approached the buildings of many other landlords in Ottawa to follow suit. Today, due to Minto’s example, more than 16,000 rental units in Ottawa now participate in the Crime Free program, providing residents in rental communities at all rent levels with enhanced safety, security and peace of mind.
Minto acknowledges that the success of this program has been a team effort involving many staff and a great partnership with the police. The work Minto has done has not only created a safer feeling for residents, but has set the example for them that their landlords care about safety. This will empower tenants to care too, and act to promote crime prevention in their buildings.