At last week's administrative council meeting, Mayor Walt Maddox proposed a motion to extend the city's moratorium on mega-complexes in Tuscaloosa. This would mean placing a hold on any residential construction until the city can review and update its codes.

The end result, Maddox hopes, is to ensure safer living spaces for students, specifically citing the recent shooting at The Grant at Rum Creek near Highway 69.

"The market isn't interested in balancing supply and demand. It's about capturing existing demand to 'move it over there,'" Maddox stated. Bottom line -- each new mega-complex built would attract waves of students, leaving 2-year old complexes with high vacancy rates, and therefore less police attention.

To put this claim to the test, here's a condensed breakdown of crime rates per apartment complex for a small collection of more recently built complexes, with data spanning January 2011 up to May 2020. If there's a recognizable pattern, it should point to newer complexes with comparatively high crime rates as older complexes:

  • Boardwalk at Brittain Landing (EST. DATE)
    • Violent Crime: 53
    • Property Crime: 242
    • Total: 295
  • Campus Evolution (EST. DATE)
    • Violent Crime: 80
    • Property Crime: 369
    • Total: 449
  • Campus Way (EST. DATE)
    • Violent Crime: 65
    • Property Crime: 253
    • Total: 318
  • The Links and The Green (EST. DATE)
    • Violent Crime: 117
    • Property Crime: 576
    • Total: 693
  • The Reserve at North River (EST. DATE)
    • Violent Crime: 9
    • Property Crime: 34
    • Total: 43
  • The Retreat (EST. DATE)
    • Violent Crime: 55
    • Property Crime: 562
    • Total: 617
  • The Woodlands (EST. DATE)
    • Violent Crime: 100
    • Property Crime: 521
    • Total: 621

Now, while correlation can't always automatically equal causation, numbers like these show a visible disparity between the amenities and security promised by new mega-complexes and their climbing crime rates.

The proposed extension on the moratorium promises to allow the City to introduce several new safety measures to existing complexes, such as exterior garage window coverings, and more street light coverage.

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