STANTON : Rental Owners Weigh Beefing Up Security
The owners of a troubled apartment community in east Stanton are trying to work with the city to increase safety.
Residents along Tina Way and Pacific Avenue complain that gangs go there to sell drugs, and intimidate many families who live in the 169 low-rent apartments that line the two streets west of Magnolia Avenue.
“The tenants are afraid,” said 10-year resident and apartment manager Beverly Rockey, who keeps her Doberman with her when she inspects vacant units. The 8800 and 8900 blocks of Tina Way and Pacific Avenue are filled only with low-rise apartment buildings with low rents.
“I’ve watched drug deals go down,” Rockey said. “A lot of the time people who live here see things, but they are frightened to tell. They don’t know when somebody is going to take a vengeance.”
After discovering a vagrant in one of her empty apartment units, Rockey trained her dog, Lucky, to sniff out an apartment before she enters it. “If she doesn’t come out, I know I’m not going in,” Rockey said.
John White, the city’s senior code enforcement officer, said 10 of the 24 apartment owners met with him Aug. 23 to discuss safety in the small neighborhood. A majority of the owners voted to hire a private security firm to patrol the area, White said.
The strategy has been used at various times in the past. “Periodically, we’ve had security, and it seems like things die down a bit,” said one owner, Dekek Oatway.
But Oatway said not all of the owners paid for the group security. “The commitment tends to falter after a while,” he said. The result was that some owners were benefiting from security hired by others. “We’re not deep pockets,” Oatway said.
And Oatway argued that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department should be doing more patrolling. “We pay a hell of a lot in taxes,” Oatway said. “We figure that gives us security.”
Capt. Robert Eason, who heads the Stanton sheriff’s substation, said emergency calls from that neighborhood are responded to within three to five minutes, as are calls from anywhere in the city.
“Unless we have someone stationed there, that’s as fast as you can get there,” Eason said. He said he does not have enough deputies to post someone there exclusively.
Eason said a Neighborhood Watch system could be created if the owners designate someone as a watch captain.
“What people don’t understand is that there is a giant group of owners,” Eason said. “And the owners themselves don’t all agree on what the solution is.”
But the apartment managers who live in the neighborhood do agree on what the problem is: gangs.
“A lot of it has to do with people who don’t even live here and come over here,” said Barbara Beaty, who manages 60 units. She showed painted-over graffiti to a visitor and pointed out young men she said were responsible.
Another meeting is planned soon, between the owners and the mayor, the city manager and Capt. Robert Eason, who heads the Stanton sheriff’s substation, White said.