Police want stronger zoning ordinance to protect students - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Police want stronger zoning ordinance to protect students

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Police want to fight crime in the university city area by changing laws. They want city leaders to zone certain apartment complexes located near University of North Carolina Charlotte campus as for students only.  There are about 14 of them. 

Those complexes were built for students, but as they leave landlords are looking to fill that vacancy with anybody who can pay the rent.

Because the rent is so cheap, college students rent by the room and get stuck with people they don't even know and who are up to no good.

"We see drug dealers move in and set up shop," CMPD University City Division Lt. Dave Johnson said. "Because of the low overhead. No housing cost and they have a huge customer base with the college students."

Johnson says college students living with non students account for more than 40% of the crime in the area.

"Everything from petty thefts," Johnson said. "Larcenies, home invasions, and aggravated assaults."

Changing the zoning ordinance could keep students out of harm's way. But some think telling landlords who to rent to is crossing the line.

"We expect some pushback," Johnson said. "But at the same time the student housing community should be, we think, among the safest communities in our area, not some of the most dangerous."

Students have mixed reactions about this idea.

"It's a good thing to look into," UNC Charlotte student Kelsey Nevel said. "But as far as students only - that's what on campus is for. This is off campus. You can't limit someone for not being a student."

"Community needs to step in," UNC Charlotte student Sejal Patel said. "I think it is a situation where a village needs to raise the children."

A committee will discuss this matter further sometime in December while city council could tackle this issue the first of next year.

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