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Devin's Law aims at making landlords responsible for safety measures at rental properties

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BATON ROUGE - After a three-year-old died when a stray bullet went through his wall, East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council members are now considering a law that would require landlords to beef up security at their rental properties.

“Devin Page Jr., many Baton Rougians will remember, that he was killed in his crib resting in his home,” District 6 councilman Cleve Dunn said. “So what we wanted to do was try to look at some ordinances or laws that would prevent any other family from being in that situation.”

The three-year-old was hit by a stray bullet, but before the fatal shooting his mom tried multiple times to move out of her rental home. 

“His mom, Tye, was in a lease that she found herself where there was a lot of criminal activity in and around the property,” Dunn said. 

In fact, the mom met with her landlord the day her son was killed.

“She went to her landlord and asked to be released from that lease because of the dangers that she felt were in and around the home. They did not let her out of the lease, and for the third or fourth time when she went to visit with them later on that evening is when Devin was killed,” he said. 

The proposal aims at making landlords and property owners provide sufficient lighting and security camera guidelines to deter crime.

“One, it encourages property owners to have security camera systems to monitor the activities in and around their properties,” Dunn explained. 

Landlords would have to keep footage for 60 days and provide law enforcement with footage at their request. Cameras aren't mandatory but lighting would be.

“Two, it mandates that property owners have adequate lighting. We know in dark spaces is where criminal activity can be hiding and camouflaged,” he said. 

And one more thing.

“The final thing we did, we mandated that landowners and property owners disclose the criminal data or the crime data in and around the property over the last 6 months,” he said. 

The proposed law was introduced Wednesday and is scheduled to be voted on during the next council meeting. 

Landlords would have 30 days from when the law is passed to make the changes. They can face a $500 fine each day they are not in compliance with the ordinance. 

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