by: Kristin Leigh Updated:
Memphis, TN - Little has changed at a troubled Memphis apartment complex more than a year after the property owner, Global Ministries Foundation, partnered with Safeways Communities to improve security measures.
A 10-year-old girl was shot at Goodwill Village Monday night.
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“They need more physical security,” Janine Heiner Buchanan, managing director for Safeways Communities, told FOX13. “By that, I mean security guards actually walking the property, at least until the crime situation is under control.”
FOX13 was there in December 2015, when Buchanan, joined by District Attorney General Amy Weirich, Shelby County commissioners, and property managers, toured Goodwill Village and three other properties.
Buchanan’s organization was tasked with assessing the property, and suggesting ways to make it more safe.
Safeways tracks domestic violence assaults, as well as violent crimes and property crimes at Memphis Apartments. Their investigations found a 6.4 percent increase in crime between 2015 and 2016, Buchanan said.
Safeways suggested increased ground security, improved lighting, and better landscaping, among other recommendations at Goodwill Village.
“For whatever reason, they weren’t able to move on the goals we set and the objectives we set forth,” Buchanan said. “We really weren’t able to continue working with them.”
Wednesday afternoon, children laughed and played in the park and public areas in the complex. But parents in the community are concerned for their children’s safety after Monday night’s shooting.
“It’s scary, because my child lives with me over there,” Ashun Sutton said. “It’s dangerous.”
The apartment complex is being sold to a new owner, Millennia Companies, who will take over on March 1.
The current property owner, Global Ministries Foundation, has faced national scrutiny, and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in recent months for the conditions at its properties across the U.S.
GMF released a statement to FOX13, that said they were handing the troubles at the apartment to its new owner.
“They will conduct a security plan assessment, including consideration of additional lighting, limiting site access, neighborhood watch, and other security measures,” Audrey Young, the media contact for GMF, said in the statement.
GMF declined to comment on its partnership with Safeways, but Young said a private security company is charged with monitoring the grounds until Millennia takes over.
FOX13’s reporters, who have spent several hours on the property since Monday’s shooting, have not seen security guards on the grounds.
“The only way you’ll effectively enforce the anti-trespass program they have in place to patrol the property and look for trespassers,” Buchanan said.
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