Talk about a failure to communicate: It certainly appears Steubenville police and the owner of a crime-plagued apartment building are not on the same page.
Two letters concerning ongoing problems at the privately owned Fort Steuben Apartments in downtown Steubenville make the conflict clear.
Though the building is owned by a New York concern, it is involved in the federal Section 8 subsidy program. Earlier this year that prompted Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, expressing concern about crime in and around the apartment building.
One complaint about the building is the number of people with criminal backgrounds who live there.
Mucci's letter stated management of the apartment building "does little or nothing to screen applicants for housing, offering almost anyone who applies a unit in spite of extensive criminal histories. Our local police department has verified this, stating that while many landlords contact them for free assistance regarding tenant criminal background checks, they have never been contacted by Fort Steuben Management."
Contrast that with a letter recently written to the building's assistant property manager by Emmanuel Wu of the New York firm that owns the structure. It states, in part: "It can be argued that the neighborhood security issues have increased since 2009 - at about the time when the police notified us that due to manpower reductions they would no longer perform background checks for potential tenants."
Steubenville police continue to maintain they will provide background checks of potential tenants for any landlord who requests them.
This week the building's local assistant property manager, Andrea Clancey, asked for a meeting with city officials concerning crime. Clearly, one is needed - but it will not be productive unless all involved agree at least on the facts of the situation. As matters stand, they do not.