Fighting apartment complex crime

By Jeff Ferrell – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Gangs, drugs and violence infest all-too-many apartment complexes in the Ark-La-Tex.  Now, new and enhanced strategies are slowly taking back some troubled complexes in parts of Shreveport.

From warrant roundups like one last summer, to violence like the murder at Southern Village Apartments in Shreveport last fall, and everything in-between, solutions to crime at apartment complexes can be just that - complex.

That's why Shreveport Police Corporal Robert Elliott addressed the dozens of gathered apartment managers at a law enforcement crash course on crime and criminals.  Cpl. Elliott spoke to the group inside the auditorium Wednesday morning at SPD's Regional Training Academy on Greenwood Road.

One of the first tips that managers received was to better utilize the tools already at their disposal to combat crime.  Cpl. Elliott told them, "If you've got signs up on your property that say, 'no loitering' and you want to bar them from loitering on your property, bar that sucker from loitering on your property."

Cpl. Elliott is the liaison officer for Pamela Bensema's complex, Southfield Apartments.  She supports the department's community-oriented policing bureau.  "I love it because it puts somebody in-between the police department and the apartment community."

Cpl. Elliott added to Bensema's comments about liaison officers saying, "Somebody that can take a little bit more time.  Our patrol officers are running, you know, call to call to call."

While Shreveport Police's liaison officer program isn't new, Mayor Cedric Glover's administration has expanded it, so all 12-districts now have their own liaison, "as well as their own property standards officer which is all part of the T-Bone, 'Taking Back Our Neighborhoods Everyday," concluded Elliott.

He said the program's success speaks for itself.  He told us, crime has dropped off in apartment complexes, especially those where the staff works closely with the liaison officer.

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