Crime at public housing gets attention

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

Residents at Windsor, Maley have complained about prostitution, drugs, robberies at apartments in Daytona Beach

BY JAMES HARPER
DAYTONA TIMES

Residents of the Windsor and Maley apartments say they have been living in fear because of crime.

The apartment complexes are operated by the Daytona Beach Housing Authority.

The Daytona Beach Housing Authority operates the Windsor Apartments on Beach Street. (DAYTONA TIMES FILES )

Leroy Fletcher spoke on behalf of residents at a Daytona Beach City Commission meeting in May about the problems he said he and others have to deal with while living in the apartments.

Fletcher was contacted this week by the Daytona Times and he says he has been told not to comment on the problems by Housing Authority Executive Housing Director Anthony Woods.
Fletcher would only say the problems still exist.

More secure?
Woods told the Daytona Times this week that as an immediate response to the expressed concerns of safety “within our property Windsor Apartments and Maley Apartments, we added an additional security officer to serve as a roaming officer within these properties.”

During the May 2 meeting, Fletcher said that Windsor and the Maley apartments have been invaded by prostitutes, people selling illegal drugs and transients living with some of the residents. He added that several of the residents have been abused by strangers and robbed.

Fletcher, who serves as president of the resident’s initiative council, said he has brought the complaints of residents to the Housing Authority, the Daytona Beach Police Department and Daytona Beach City Commissioner Kelly White.

“We have residents that are blind that are being robbed. The security (guards) of the building is being threatened verbally and their tires are being slashed physically,” Fletcher told city commissioners. He also says his tires have been slashed for speaking out about the problems.
“I am sticking my neck out because the residents are afraid,” Fletcher remarked.

Fee for protection
Fletcher said he addressed the problems to Zone 3 Commissioner White because the apartments are located on Beach Street, the area she represents.

“White is familiar with the situation. For some reason nothing seems to be being done,” added Fletcher.

“They say the residents are the most important assets. Housing Authority is not fulfilling their obligation. I wish Ms. Kelly White would get dialogue with (Daytona Beach Police Chief) Chitwood. As I speak, the criminal element is in charge of the Windsor and Maley,” said Fletcher.

Chitwood said the police department does not have any jurisdiction to do anything about the problems at the complex.

“Give me the money to put resources inside your building. Don’t spend $10 (an hour) for a security guard. Pay $20 (to us an hour) and put police officers in that building,” Chitwood said at a commission meeting.

Police presence short
John Kretzer, vice chairman of the Daytona Beach Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, disagrees with Chitwood.

“We’re part of the city. Police are supposed to protect us as well without us paying them extra,” Kretzer noted.

White did say at the May 2 meeting she wanted to be part of the solution and asked for extra policing.

Kretzer, who is also a resident of the Windsor Apartments, said this week in an exclusive interview, that after the May 2 meeting, a Daytona Beach Police Department patrol car was parked in the parking lot with an officer for about four weeks but hasn’t been back since.
He added that there are some problems at the complex but aren’t as bad as Fletcher outlined.

Police unit proposed
Chitwood said he would like to see a unit in the apartment complex, a sergeant with at least four officers. He was asked by Mayor Glenn Ritchey at the May 2 meeting to put together a proposal.

“Put together a recommendation to provide added security to those building to start the process. Nobody should live where they are fearful for their lives. We will start the process to see if something can happen,” said Ritchey.

Woods said he and the residents have met three times with the Daytona Beach Police Department since the May 2 meeting at which time Chitwood shared statistical data, listened to the residents and answered questions.

Positive meetings
Woods said Chitwood told those in attendance that the Windsor and Maley are very safe in comparison to other properties in the city.

“Chief Chitwood and his team provided very good information during their presentation and our residents were very receptive and raised good questions. Overall, the meetings were very positive,” said Woods.

On Aug. 6, Woods met with Chitwood and Fletcher to discuss residents’ concerns.

Woods said they will be working with the police department to establish a Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, which consists of a Physical Assessment and Multi-Housing Agreement; an Eyes and Ears Program, which consists of security training and dispatch radio; and a Citizen’s Police Academy.

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