There are many apartments in East Texas just like the Jerusalem Apartments in Longview, suffering under excessive gang and drug activity. Residents say they don't feel safe, but that's beginning to change. New management, working with residents and police, hope to make an example of the complex.
Today firefighters and police were at Jerusalem Apartments, not for an emergency, but to celebrate a new beginning for residents. The new management and emergency workers threw a party for the kids who live here.
"That's what we're trying to do today, bridge the gap between the community at Jerusalem Apartments. We want to get to know the people a little bit better and let them get to know us better," says officer Bob Cowart.
The new manager is determined to get rid of drugs and gangs. Residents say their homes are already safer. "It was real bad. This was like the hang out. You don't have the shooting out here anymore," says resident Shanika Wallace.
New manager Shanequa Writte has only been here since June 9th, but already she's introduced a 10 o'clock curfew for all residents. She's worked with police to constantly patrol the area, and there is much more in store for the kids at this complex. "We're trying to get a playground for them, get some picnic tables. Soon we're going to get a daycare and we're going to have some computer classes for them," says manager Shanequa Writte.
These are changes that will make for a brighter and safer home for the children at these apartments. That's a reality even they can appreciate. "It's like you were living in a bad environment and then there were some changes made so that's why it makes you feel safer," says 9 year old Antonia Buchanan.