Harris County suing crime-ridden apartment complex in SW Houston

May 3, 2013 3:42:15 PM PDT
The Harris County Attorney's Office is cracking down on a southwest Houston apartment complex it says has become a dangerous crime haven.

In the past two years, police received more than 2,000 calls to the Mint Apartments on Dairy Ashford Road. That's nearly three a day.

The family we spoke to are constantly looking over shoulder. And now the owner of the complex is being told to make it safer or face losing your property.

Andre Watkins, his wife and their one-year-old son can't wait for their lease to come up at the Mint Apartments.

"We are in the back, it's real dangerous. I have a one-year-old and I fear for his safety all the time," Watkins said.

According to Harris County records, the Mint apartments have racked up more than 2,000 calls into HPD over the course of two years. Most of the calls were for aggravated assault, robbery, drug deals and gang activity.

"Where you do the mailbox there was a shooting right there, in the middle of the day. It's like really, how can you do that?" Watkins said.

In September 2012, Eyewitness News covered a shoot out between two cars. One man was hit in the arm.

The crime at the Mint apartments has been deemed excessive by the Harris County Attorney's Office and they say the owners need to be held accountable.

"They're allowing this to happen on their property, and they've become aware of it because of all the arrests and convictions on the complex and therefore they are required to take reasonable steps," said Celena Vinson with the Harris County Attorney's Office.

The county attorney's office has filed a lawsuit to force the owners to upgrade security, add a fence to enclose the property with cameras for surveillance.

"We think there needs to be more lighting. We would like them to hire more security guards, we don't believe that they have enough. In fact, we would like certified peace officers to be on the property," Vinson said.

Until the owners of the Mint apartments respond to the lawsuit, Watkins will continue to worry about wife and little boy.

"And I just don't know. I pray every night she comes home safely, but you just don't know," Watkins said.

If the owner of the Mint does not comply, the property could be taken could head into receivership, be fined or even seized.

We did stop by the leasing office for comment and were told they where not aware of the lawsuit and asked us to leave.
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