Landlords in Texas are allegedly allowing police inside homes for “inspections.”
August 9, 2013
Waco, Texas police officers are now allegedly entering apartments and rental homes on “crime prevention” inspections.
An alleged inspection notice from the Sanger Oaks Apartments’ management states that the Waco Police Department will inspect “security features” inside apartments as part of the Waco Crime Free Multi-Housing Program.
The Waco Police Department created the program in order to build a partnership between the police and property managers to “keep drugs and other illegal activity” out of rental properties.
The police train landlords on “applicant screening, recognizing illegal drug activity, combating crime problems, the eviction process, managing risks, and working with the police.”
Landlords in the program must also meet standard security requirements for the dwellings and common areas as outlined under Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.
The requirements include metal dead bolts, eye viewers in front doors and strike plates, which according to the notice the police will inspect.
If police are alone inside your apartment or rental house, what really prevents them from digging through your closet, your drawers, and even your trash?
In 2001, after an informant accused Daniel Serrano of cocaine dealing, an Austin police detective picked through Serrano’s trash can, which was sitting out in the street in front of his house.
The detective found a “plastic baggie with white powder residue” in the garbage.
The residue tested positive for cocaine.
A court granted the detective a warrant to search Serrano’s house based on his garbage can find.
Police found cocaine inside Serrano’s home and arrested him.
He was later convicted of cocaine possession with intent to deliver.
The Texas District Court, however, reversed Serrano’s conviction, stating that because trash cans sitting outside are readily accessible to the public, the cocaine residue could have easily been planted by someone else.
Serrano beat the charge because the evidence obtained for a search warrant was found outside of his home.
But what if police “uncover” evidence against you inside your home while checking the deadbolts on a “crime prevention” inspection?
What would stop them from saying that they “smelled marijuana,” claiming that it gave them “probable cause” to search through your closet and drawers?
Police could also easily identify gun owners for future confiscations through these inspections.
Even further, what would prevent a corrupt cop from planting false evidence on your property?