301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

7.6.23 – WUSA -LARGO, Md.

The County Council is considering a bill that would force apartment complexes for seniors to install video cameras and hire security guards.

When it comes to crime, police say often seniors make easy targets.

In Prince George’s County, there’s now disagreement on what to do about it.

Thursday the county council began considering a bill that would force apartment complexes for seniors to install video cameras and hire security guards.

Landlords and some county officials concerned about keeping senior housing affordable had a lot of questions about cost.

Councilmember Wala Blegay says she proposed the bill after a carjacking that occurred in February while she was visiting a senior apartment complex in Largo

“When we met with the management, maybe a month later, and we talked about security, they revealed to us that their cameras had not worked for two years,” Blegay said.

“There needs to be something done.”

Blegay’s bill would require landlords of senior apartment complexes to provide 24 hour video security coverage and to provide one security guard on duty for at least 12 hours every day for each 100 residents in a complex.

Sakinda Skinner, who represents county executive Angela Alsobrooks, said the administration believes enhanced security for seniors should be a priority.

But Skinner raised questions about how the bill might impact housing.

“Is the responsibility of the costs going to be shifted solely to the landlord?” Skinner asked.

“Is there some way to regulate to where the landlord cannot shift that burden to the tenant?  Because with rent stabilization, the increase of costs of the surveillance cameras, someone’s going to pay for that.”

A representative from one landlord group said the cost of security guards in particular could be more than $130,000 for one building owner.

Councilmembers supporting the bill agreed to slow down and open negotiations with landlords to come up with security solutions by the fall of this year.