Developer offering free apartments to police officers in Paterson if they move in

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A developer in New Jersey is trying to make his community safer by offering police officers free apartments if they move in.

Every night, construction workers in Paterson board up and fence in their apartment projects because they don't want drug dealers moving in when they leave for the night.

We got a tour inside brand new, 3-bedroom homes, renovated by Charles Florio

The developer will have no problem renting out the brand new apartments. The problem is the crime out on the streets.

Right next door to the newly renovated building is a burned out home filled with garbage and, I'm told, squatters.

Surrounded by so much urban blight and crime, the developer is now offering Paterson police officers free apartments if they will live in the city where they work

"I think it's a great concept and thinking outside the box," said Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale.

We spoke to the police director Tuesday night. He understands the motive for wanting an officer as a fellow neighbor. Law abiding families would feel safer. But the optics here are a problem.

"When you get past the cup of coffee, and then go to the apartment, then you go to the car, then something else, that can mushroom into a thing that becomes full blown corruption and we can't have that," said Speziale.

"We're going for it because the people of Paterson deserve it," said Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.

The Guardian Angels, made up of civilian patrols, were also offered an apartment and they plan to move in next week

"By having our headquarters in the 4th Ward, the belly of the best, 24 hours, we're now going to recruit a lot of young men and women," said Sliwa.

Gentrifying a troubled city is never easy, especially if crime continues to own the upper hand. The Guardian Angels are hoping to teach residents how to take back their own neighborhoods, one house at a time.

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