In order to combat drug dealing in the public areas of buildings, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office developed the Trespass Affidavit Program (TAP).
In buildings where drugs are sold, tenants complain about the constant foot traffic by unknown individuals. These unwelcome visitors often loiter in the public areas to sell or use narcotics. Sometimes dealers act as doormen, directing buyers and intimidating residents. Changing locks and posting signs forbidding trespassing is frequently ineffective, and law abiding tenants and landlords can feel powerless to rid their buildings of drug trafficking and the accompanying disorder.
The Trespass Affidavit Program, staffed by our Community Affairs Unit, gives communities an opportunity to change these conditions. When the Community Affairs Unit receives confidential complaints about drug trafficking activity in a particular building, it contacts landlords and registers them in TAP. Landlords must then post signs throughout their building reading “Tenants and Their Guests ONLY,” provide the police with a complete list of tenants and keys to their building, and permit police officers to conduct “vertical patrols” in the building. When necessary, officers may make arrests for criminal trespassing.
Currently, more than 3,200 buildings are enrolled in TAP. The program is a valuable tool for law enforcement, allowing it to address prostitution complaints, burglary and assault locations, vacant building problems, and privately-owned empty lots where trespassing is a common occurrence.