Memphis Housing Authority residents plea for safer conditions at Barry Towers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. --Residents at Barry Towers say by day the MHA Property has its issues, but at night it's a different story.

Barry Towers is a Memphis Housing Authority high-rise.

Residents get government assistance to pay their rent, but they say that doesn't mean they should live in fear.

"Doesn't matter how low the income is, none of that. Wherever you pay your rent, you got a right to be safe and secure," says Barry Towers resident Edward McClain.

Thursday residents packed into MHA's board meeting telling about night-time drug dealers taking over their home, threatening residents who snitch.

One resident told us what a drug dealer said to seniors playing cards about calling police.

"If I go to jail, when I get out, I am coming up there and kill all y'all.  I don't feel like we should live like that," the resident said.

"So much is going on at the Barry. Even when you go there, the dope boys are right in the front door sometimes," says Albert Sanders, who is on the MHA Resident Advisory Board.

They also say the homeless sleep in the hallways and rendezvous with women.

"I hurry up and grabbed my key and locked my door because a homeless man was down there, him and some woman having sex," said another resident.

Police admit, there are problems, but say they are working on them.

"When they call us we are there. We make sweeps and have made several significant arrests," said a Memphis Police Officer at the meeting.

"They got a park out in the front, they have lookouts. So we started a couple of months ago, we cut the trees back where you can see coming in because they have lookouts. So we have been working on some of that," said Major Bobby Slaughter, who is over the Memphis Housing Police Department.

Residents want more.

They asked MHA to make Barry Towers a part of the District Attorney's Office Anti-Trespassing Program.

Signs would be posted prohibiting loitering and criminal trespassing.

Violators could be charged.

MHA's Executive Director, Dorian Jenkins, says they will do what's needed.

"I just was informed it is done at other sites. The D.A. has the signs available. We are going ahead and acquiring them and have those put up at Barry Towers and other public housing sites as well," said Jenkins.

The sooner the signs go up, the sooner residents say they can feel safe.

"We care about where we stay," says Barry Towers resident Rosie Meredith.

Memphis Police have also been working with Memphis Housing Police.

They say the anti-trespassing designation allows them to approach non-residents who might be causing problems.

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