City councilman pushing security upgrades for Ravenwood Apartments
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Montgomery city councilmen is on a mission to increase security for residents in his district after a recent a string of violent activity at various apartment complexes.
District 6 Councilmen Oronde Mitchell is coming vigorously after the owners of Ravenwood Apartments after multiple complaints from tenants regarding safety.
“Within the last six months I think I’ve talked to over maybe 50 tenants that are just absolutely terrified living out at Ravenwood,” Mitchell said.
The complex was once again the scene of a crime over the weekend. According to Montgomery police, a man suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound off Woodley Square West Saturday inside the Ravenwood Apartments complex.
Mitchell said residents who live there reported to him that at least 50 gunshots could be heard being fired.
“One lady reached out to me through Facebook and said a bullet pierced through my apartment where my 2-year-old child was sitting,” Mitchell said. “So those are some of the things I went in aggressively and rigorously after Ravenwood about.”
Mitchell has been working with the owners and property mangers at Ravenwood for six months to help beef up security. He encouraged the complex to implement a 30-day action plan which included, but was not limited to, a certified security company coming in, the installation of surveillance cameras, better lighting and a curfew.
A show cause hearing was held at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting in which the owners were asked to come before the council and describe to them what kind of security enhancements had been made during the 30 days.
The regional manager of the complex who spoke said, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for crime and mischief activity. We respond to any complaints and we want to solve them.”
He said, “No one should be on property that’s not supposed to be there. Security has been advised to engage and see if they are actually supposed to be there.”
He went on to say that one of the two gates on the property has been closed for the time being until they can install a new automated gate system. He also said the electrical wiring for security cameras has been completed, but the communication equipment has been delayed due to “material delays.”
Despite the efforts to defend their business to the council, Mitchell said the changes weren’t being made fast enough.
“Until we make a stand and make them do something, they’ll never do anything, and my residents will still be unsafe,” Mitchell said to members of the council at the show cause hearing.
The council ultimately voted unanimously to revoke Ravenwood’s business license.
“We are doing the same thing that we would do for any business that have a license in the city of Montgomery,” Mitchell said. “You have a responsibility, and we just want to make sure that everybody’s living up to that responsibility. That’s the only way that Montgomery’s going to get better. We have to work together.”
After the vote, the regional manager said, “We are just starting out here.” He said they needed more time to implement what was being asked by the city.
The council set the Ravenwood Apartments complex to return in 30 days for another review.
Mitchell said this is the first time the city has ever revoked the business license of an apartment complex. Questions regarding how rent and leases for tenants will be handled in the event their license is permanently revoked is being discussed among city officials.
Ravenwood Apartments was among the 12 apartment complexes caught operating without a business license in August 2020. Mitchell said the complex’s license was made compliant again before it was revoked this month.
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