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Despite improvements, residents remain concerned about crime at Hillview Village

Memphis, Tenn. -- It's a Memphis apartment complex with a long history of crime.

Despite recent improvements, one resident of Hillview Village told WREG, "You still hear about the shootings, you still hear about the break ins."

The resident didn't want to show her face, but she did show the News Channel 3 Investigators what happened to her car.

A plastic bag covers the spot where a window used to be.

She says she walked to the car one morning to take her daughter to school.

Thieves had broken in while they were sleeping.

She said, "I was fixing to open the door for my child and, to only discover that my window was broke. Look in, where my radio and stuff was at and it's gone."

Through open records the News Channel 3 Investigators learned there were more than 1800 MPD calls for service to Hillview in roughly the last two years.

A closer look reveals from October first of 2015 to the same time this year, there were a total of 68 major crimes like robbery, aggravated assault and homicide.

The most common offense was burglary, followed by some type of theft.

The resident continued, "It's hurtful because you work so hard, you know, just for things to get taken, like it's not right."

Attorney Walter Bailey represents the families of five boys shot in a drive by at Hillview Village during the summer of 2014.

The civil suit alleges the complex owner, Eureka Multifamily Group, failed to provide adequate security for tenants, despite knowing the history of violence.

"Where there's a forseeability that violence will occur, they have duty to take measures to try to do everything they can to secure and assure the safety and protection of its tenants," said Bailey.

In court documents, Eureka called the incident unavoidable and said it had no "actual" notice of any "impending dangerous condition" at the property.

A separate federal, criminal case is pending where alleged gang members are charged with attempted murder.

Eureka, which took over at Hillview in 2014, told WREG it's seen a reduction in crime since installing a SkyCop system this year.

That system also includes license plate reader cameras that feed directly to the Real Time Crime Center.

They say they contract with armed off-duty police officers and security patrols, plus there's a curfew.

Janine Heiner Buchanan is the Managing Director at Safeways, a company that works for property owners to help reduce crime.

Hillview isn't a Safeways property.

Buchanan tells WREG, for the crimes it tracks, Hillview has seen a small decrease since last year.

"However, they're still number two in the precinct, so still very high and still more than twice the mean."

Buchanan says in general, property owners have to take a holistic approach to crime reduction efforts in an apartment community.

Safeways looks first to environmental interventions such as lighting, landscaping and improving visibility.

Buchanan also says the owners must have as much information as possible about what's happening at the complex.

"It's not going to be 100 percent effective to just put security guards in there or just put cameras everywhere because your residents are going to get used to the security's routine and schedules and so are the trespassers."

The resident told WREG, when talking about the addition of security cameras"It don't help because everything is being done at night when you sleep."

The resident said she reported the incident to the complex and inquired about camera footage, but didn't file a police report.

She says an off-duty officer told her it wouldn't help get her radio back because she didn't have insurance.

She'd only owned the car for two weeks.

"My car is not the main priority, but I think it is, but the lives are."

Eureka officials also told WREG, "Because MPD owns the SkyCop system at Hillview, we encourage our residents to notify and cooperate with the police when an event occurs, and to let the police handle any investigation as they see fit.”

The company donated the system to MPD via a non-profit.

Eureka Multi-Family Group also says it's initiated the following at Hillview:

  • We have partnered with a non-profit agency Giving Youth a Chance to provide after-school feeding program – currently feeding 100+ kids every school day.  The agency also provides daily meals and snacks during summer school break.
  • Due to the federal mandate from Health and Human Services, adult recipients of SNAP (food stamp benefits) must work 20 hours per week or attend class.  Hillview’s office staff has been assisting residents of the program by providing job search materials and job placement opportunities.
  • Local partnership with churches in the area to provide youth program and outreach (i.e. Help Outreach Ministries, Bless The Children Daycare)