Last Updated: 2010-01-26

How does Community Assisted Public Safety (CAPS) work?

The CAPS team composed of property maintenance, police, fire, health, zoning and tax enforcement forms the nucleus of each zone's program. The Commonwealth's Attorney, ABC, finance and other departments are heavily involved, as well. The team, lead by the code enforcement official, partners with citizens in each zone to identify, track and abate problems with properties that pose significant public safety or blight issues for the neighborhood. Citizens attend monthly meetings and help to identify the properties they feel need the full attention of the city. The CAPS Team works with other city staff as required and the property owner, and reports progress at meetings. Problem properties, once accepted into the program, are tracked until there is resolution. If property owners are not willing to satisfactorily address their problems, the case may go to court. Should this action be taken, it is vital that citizens attend the court hearings to impress upon the courts that they, too, seek abatement.

How are properties selected?

By completing the CAPS Complaint Form, citizens and the team "nominate" properties that they feel will benefit most from the attention of the CAPS program. Due to the extensive effort required by these problem properties, the team handles only a limited number of cases at any one time. Thus, the group ranks properties in priority order. To be officially addressed and tracked by the team, the property must require the attention of two or more city agencies AND meet one of the following criteria: It must have had previous enforcement activity Or It must have a long standing history Or It must be a public safety concern.

What if a property does not make the CAPS list?

Not every problem property requires the attention of CAPS. Houses with peeling paint, or broken gutters, for instance, may only require a letter from the city pointing out the need for maintenance in accordance with the City Code. These cases will also be actively tracked until resolved, but will not be part of the team’s focus.

How are properties reported?

If you know of properties that are serious problems in your neighborhood, report them to your civic association, which in turn will bring them to the CAPS meetings or attend the CAPS meeting yourself. You also may call the CAPS number, (804)646-CAPS(2277), and request a CAPS Complaint Form. Fax the completed form back to (804)646-5355.

What is the timetable for problem property resolution?

It is not possible to establish a timetable for specific resolutions. Each property is unique. A responsible property owner will probably fix his property in 30 days, with only a letter from the city. An absentee landlord who lives out of state may be an entirely different case, and could take months and months of effort. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to even find the owner to begin the process. What we do know is that there will be measurable improvement in our neighborhoods almost immediately. As owners see that the city and the community are united in the CAPS effort, many will choose to maintain their property voluntarily, rather than be cited by the city, and be subject to code violations, fines, and court appearances.

Who do we contact with questions?

There is a team leader for each area of the city. You may reach the teams by dialing (804)646-CAPS (2277) or by e-mail to CAPS Team.

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Contact Information:

Community Assisted Public Safety
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Room G-12
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
CAPS
Phone: (804)646-CAPS (2277)
Fax: (804)646-5355
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