Apartment Complex Residents Want More Security

Apartment Complex Residents Want More Security

By WEEK Reporter
By Denise Jackson

September 9, 2010 Updated Sep 9, 2010 at 8:56 PM CDT

Residents in one Peoria neighborhood say they're beginning to feel like hostages in their homes due to escalating crime.
They worry someone could soon get hurt.

Patricia Berry has lived here in Pierson Hills apartment complex for two years. She says many nights it's not unusual to hear someone breaking windows, busting through doors or occassionally firing gunshots.

"I feel safer during the day. I sleep during the day. Half the time I'm awake til three or four o'clock in the morning cause I don't know if somebody's gonna come in here and that's the truth," Berry said.

Berry says someone broke into her car early Thursday morning and ransacked it. She and neighbor Marnita McDonald say many of the problems happen after two a-m when the security officer leaves.

"There's a lot of single women out here with small kids and I think everybody would feel safe, I think the guys that are out doing all the bad stuff, if they saw security 24 hours the crime would stop," McDonald said.

Both women say they've spoken with Eugene Gathers the executive director for Upgrade Companies, which owns the apartment complex. Gathers admits there are safety problems for residents but points to progress Peoria police made in recent weeks during a crack down on crime.

"I think if you check around the city at other apartment complexes I don't think what is happening here is so unique. We try to do things to assist the city in controlling the negativity," he said.

Peoria police say in their assessment of hot spots Pierson Hills was not one of the places were violent crimes and homicides were occurring.

Right now there are no security cameras on the premises and with budget constraints in place the executive director does not think that will be an option.

In the meantime Patricia Berry, who lives alone, says she taking steps to try and protect herself.

"I have a weapon in every room cause you never know which way they're gonna come. Basically you come here I'm gonna have to defend myself. I think I have that right to," she said.

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