Lately, the issues of ordinance violations and crimes in Highlands have been associated with Short-term Rentals specifically increased noise, unlawful parking and trash as well as theft/larceny, burglary/breaking and entering, and property damage.
Last week Highlands Police Chief Andrea Holland provided five-years of incident statistics that may offer some insight regarding Noise and Trash Complaints as well as those for Theft/Larceny, Burglary/Breaking and Entering, and Property Damage.
The statistics for Noise and Trash categories were broken into two parts – those that were “STR Related” and those that were “Other Locations.”
The statistics for Theft/Larceny, Burglary/Breaking and Entering, and Property Damage were town-wide and would include all residential and business locations.
Noise and Trash Incidents
Reports from143 known STRs
In 2017 there were 0 noise and 0 trash complaints; in 2018, there were 0 noise and 0 trash; in 2019, there were 2 noise and 0 trash; in 2020 there were 2 noise complaints and 2 trash; in 2021 there were 2 noise complaints and 14 trash complaints. So far in 2022, there are 5 noise and 2 trash complaints.
Reports from other locations – Residential and Business
In 2017 there were 7 noise complaints and 0 trash; in 2018, there were 12 noise and 1 trash; in 2019 there were 20 noise and 4 trash; in 2020 there were 27 noise and 15 trash; in 2021 there were 21 noise and 40 trash and so far in 2022 there have been 14 noise and 14 trash complaints.
Chief Holland said regarding the 2021 trash complaints, 85% were related to complaints at addresses that did not have the new bear resistant trash cans.
Crime is another issue STRs are being blamed for, but Chief Holland said she just hasn’t seen it.
“Think about it,” she said. “Would someone break into a house that is lit up and has people inside?”
Theft/Larceny, Burglary/Breaking and Entering
Overall, Theft/Larceny, Burglary/Breaking and Entering and Property Damage incidents have decreased since 2019 which was a high year. Statistics include Residents, Businesses and Automobile incidents.
In 2017 there were 23 theft/larceny and 9 burglary/breaking and enterings; in 2018, there were 24 theft/larceny and 19 burglary/breaking and enterings; in 2019 there were 46 theft/larceny and 25 burglary/breaking and enterings, in 2020 there were 35 theft/larceny and 13 burglary/breaking and enterings; in 2021 there were 18 theft/larceny and 4 burglary/breaking and enterings; and so far in 2022 there have been 17 theft/larceny and 6 burglary/breaking and enterings.
Chief Holland said when considering the burglary/breaking and entering statistics it’s important to note that when officers receive a call for a burglary/breaking and entering, the incident may be unfounded at the completion of the investigation, but it’s still logged as a such.
In 2017, there were 23 incidents, in 2018, 19; in 2019, 28; in 2020, 16; In 2021, 16; and so far in 2022, 12.
Regarding Property Damage Chief Holland said, “it could have resulted from a bear.”
By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper