Residents complain about drunken vagrants

October 14, 2010 5:09:43 PM PDT
It's a sight you don't normally see in the middle of the day -- people passed out on the concrete outside a northwest Harris County strip center. Business owners and residents in the area say they've seen enough. Residents in the neighborhood tell us they don't feel safe, and their complaints have gone unanswered. It's happening in the 12000 block of Veterans Memorial near Antoine. Neighbors tell Eyewitness News that at any given hour there are people drinking and even passed out. Now one man is taking a stand, he says, to save his neighborhood from ruin.

The images seem to say it all -- from a woman apparently passed out on a sidewalk to a man napping under the bushes. Sherman Spikes took the photos, he says, to prove that there's a serious problem in his neighborhood.

"Usually two or three o'clock, you may have six or eight of them right there and then another three or four in the alley behind the store," Spikes said.

On Wednesday, Spikes took us to the store where we found a group of men drinking what appeared to be alcohol a few feet from a sign prohibiting it. When we approached them, there were no denials.

"So what? So what?" asked one man. "Man, I live in this neighborhood. So what?"

We asked then why he wasn't drinking at home.

He responded, "I just got off work and I do what I please."

Inside the store, we showed the clerk the photos Spikes took. He told us he has made an effort to get the vagrants out, too.

"We complain every day, many a time," said Naseer Jawaid, the store's clerk. "They come back."

Spikes showed us letter after letter that he says he's written trying to get help -- everyone from Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Every time, he says, the problem persists. He says he's worried that continued vagrancy at the shopping center will lead to an increase in crime in his subdivision, wondering what it will take to get the problem solved.

"We're trying to save our neighborhood," Spikes said. "This is a good neighborhood and we're working to try to preserve our homes."

The sheriff's office says its aware of the problem, but they don't have the resources to monitor the area 24 hours a day.


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