County pressures complex to clean up or close down

May 15, 2012 4:40:24 PM PDT
It's being called a haven for gang activity -- a condo complex in southwest Houston. The county wants the complex to clean up or get shut down.

They claim the complex is a nuisance. Records show just last year, there were 35 theft- and assault-related calls at the Le Promenade condos off Bissonnet. Investigators say a gang is entrenched there.

Some of the people who call Le Promenade home seem to like living here.

"I don't see no crime lately. Everything is nice in here. We are so happy," resident Ms. Gomez said.

But if you Google 7400 Bissonnet, a darker picture is painted.

"I haven't seen any gangs since I've been here. Little kids, if you are worried about twelve-year-olds, then what you worried about," said a resident who identified herself only as Labresha.

But the police log would tell a different story: 50 calls last year, ranging from assaults to theft and vandalism.

This mother of four says she has seen prostitution outside her door.

"Friday, Saturday, Monday, the night and the morning at 7 o'clock in the morning," said a resident who identified herself only as Laura.

In an unusual move, the state and county attorney filed an injunction to clean the place up, holding all the condo owners accountable and asking them to pay a bond of up to $10,000. Worst case scenario, the owners would be evicted.

"The criminal activity must stop at this location and the owners include the individual condominium owners have to adhere to what the law requires," Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan.

"It's basically housed by a gang," said David Hawes with the Greater Sharpstown Management District

Community leaders say gang members are even recruited from nearby Sharpstown High School and gunfire in the area around the school has interrupted classes on several occasions.

"It's a real detriment to the community and to the safety of everyone who even comes through that area so it has to be dealt with," Hawes said.

Hawes says the last resort is eviction and that's not what they want.

"We are responsible and the county, too but right now everything is fine here," Ms. Gomez said.

"I love it here. I don't want to move. I can't picture myself anywhere else in Houston right now," Labresha said.

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