What is CAPS?
Community Assisted Public Safety (CAPS) is a pro-active, team-based program organized to take actions on problem properties by the enforcement of applicable property, public safety and other laws within the City of Richmond.
CAPS is a partnership with citizens and the City working together to keep our neighborhoods safe, clean and healthy.
Five City departments make up the key members of the team. Those departments are
Planning & Development Review,
Virginia Department of Health.
All participants work as a team with a common goal of resolving issues at properties that are problems due to non-compliance with regulations implemented for the common good.
For a complaint to become a CAPS case there must be activity at the property that spans the enforcement area of two or more City agencies AND meets one or more of the following criteria:
- The problem must have a standing history.
- The problem must have previous enforcement action.
- The problem must be public-safety related.
How Does CAPS Work?
CAPS is structured to be based on the geographic lines of the Richmond Police Department Precincts with each of the 4 Precincts having a team assigned.
The team is primarily comprised of a property maintenance enforcement inspector who serves as the team coordinator, a police officer, a zoning officer, a health inspector, a fire marshal, and a tax enforcement officer.
The team also involves a variety of other agencies that are called on as needed. A CAPS team uses the combined enforcement authority of all city, state, and federal agencies to maximize their capability and achieve code compliance at properties that are in violation. When combined enforcement is exercised, the team has an opportunity to insure that the root of the problem is exposed; making sure that proper corrective actions are taken to achieve compliance.
CAPS Key Strategies
There are three key strategies that make CAPS a successful program. These strategies are building partnerships with citizens,
providing education on the elements of a healthy and safe community and the proactive enforcement of all laws and ordinances.
Emphasis is placed on balancing compliance efforts with education about the benefits of code-compliant property. With the support of involved property owners and an understanding of expectations, we believe most residents and business owners will take steps to improve their property and help in seeking ways to eliminate blight and maintain the City as a safe, comfortable environment to live, work and play.
Citizens have a vested interest in improving their neighborhood and their involvement is a key factor in identifying problem properties. CAPS was built on communicating with neighbors and addressing their concerns. That relationship continues today as CAPS partners with
and Citizens at monthly neighborhood meetings in each of the precincts to exchange information and discuss CAPS and code enforcement projects. Citizens also make a difference in the prosecution of cases just by showing their presence in court. This sends a message that there are still people who care what happens in their community and are willing to stand their ground in support of the enforcement of laws that make their
neighborhoods a great place to live. These are citizens that believe Neighborhoods have rights too.
It is anticipated that property owners will be eager to correct any conditions that are unsafe, unhealthy or not in compliance with city, state and federal laws. For those who do not realize the value of
maintaining safe code compliant properties, stronger remedies will be pursued until the condition is corrected. A problem property will remain a priority until compliance is reached.
Citizens are invited to attend their monthly CAPS/MPACT
to help the city maintain clean and safe communities.