Police Intervention and Property Management
Police intervention and property management – do they go together?
Here is my story:
I had connected with a former property manager the other day, and it got me thinking about some situations that happened at a property she managed for me.
I am a hands on guy, and if the police are involved I am on the scene. When I think back to one particular night that involved a bit of a showdown with some local thugs, some threats on my life and the police intervening, I have to say I must have been brave or just plain stupid on that night.
I am obviously still alive to tell the tale, so now it is just an interesting story.
Let me set the stage. I had acquired an apartment building that came with a super intendant. I thought that was great, however, my super had a bit of a reputation in the neighbourhood for being a drunk who liked to cause trouble with some of the local kids. There was one particular gang of kids that lived across the street. They were what I would call typical teenagers, who most had a rough up bringing, and lacked parental supervision. I find sometimes these misguided youth like to band together with other kids in the same situation. I would likely do the same (strength in numbers).
Anyway, I am not really sure and will likely never know who was bullying who, the teens or my super.
What lead to this particular night was a series of situations involving paint balling the entrance to my building, a BB shot through a livingroom window of one of the apartments (that tenant they picked on, because they thought he was a crack head – it turns out they were right). They also through a rock through my super intendants livingroom window. This all happened over a series of a couple of months.
Well then one night on a cold February, I was chilling out at home with my family and I got a call from my super. The kids were at it again. This time they smashed the livingroom window of one of my tenants in a lower unit.
It was the straw that broke the camels back. I got up, jumped into my truck and headed over to this building. When I pulled up, the kids all ran into the apartment they lived in across the street. I went right over and knocked on the door to get them and come out and explain themselves. I wanted them to stop damaging my building. It was driving me crazy. The kids were holding a baseball bat and threatening to kill me. In hind sight, it is probably good they stayed inside. Then my voice of reason showed up, there were actually four of them and they all had guns. They also had badges and call themselves police.
I am glad they showed up to defuse the situation. They could not do much, but managed to stick around and try to get to the bottom of the situation.
After they tracked down one of the teenage boys mothers, she talked to her son (who was the ring leader) and everyone agreed to a cease fire.
I have been in the negotiation business for most of my life and I also believe that pretty much any situation can be talked out in the light of day. So the next day I tracked down the gang of teens to work out a deal.
When I went to there house, they were a bit reluctant to talk, however, as I listened to there story, I started to take there side. They felt that they were being bullied. I basically said, I understand how you feel, however, the damage you are causing does not really affect your target, it just affects me. The ring leader of the gang was pretty smart and saw my point of view.
In the end I gave five of them $20 each and made a deal that if anyone damages my building I want to know about it. Then I drove a few of them to a local convenience store so they could spend there cash.
The main leader was thrilled with the deal, and I never had a problem since that day.
Here is what I learned:
Always keep cool – I often think what if the police did not show up, or the kids had come outside with the baseball bats, or worse, what if they had a gun. It was really stupid of me to lose my cool, I am very fortunate that in the end the police and the gang of teens were understanding. It could have been worse.
Listen – listen to people. Find out there point of view. The more you listen, the more you learn, the better you can get a long with people.
Negotiation – this is when I realized all my years in sales, negotiating deals really paid off. If you are not in sales already, I highly recommend a sales or negotiation course. Knowing about human behaviour and how to act when confrontation is necessary, is an important property management skill.