UPDATE: “I am very encouraged”: DA Jon David confident residents in crime-ridden Sandy Ridge will see a safer neighborhood

UPDATE: “I am very encouraged”: DA Jon David confident residents in crime-ridden Sandy Ridge will see a safer neighborhood
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 12:11 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2022 at 8:41 PM EDT
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WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - District Attorney Jon David met with the Whiteville City Council on Tuesday, July 26, and updated them on a consent judgment that would increase surveillance and security measures in Sandy Ridge Apartments.

On July 18, the Columbus County Superior Court issued the judgement requiring to take security measures to ensure the safety of the residents.

The district attorney has been attempting to take action since last year as criminal activity continued to be reported at the complex.

“I am very encouraged that we were able to negotiate a consent judgment which puts meaningful safety measures in place.” said David. “Moreover, Sandy Ridge has now been labeled as a public nuisance, which is an important admission should future court action become necessary. This result would not have been possible without the exceptional work of the nuisance abatement team with ALE, who worked in close partnership with my office and the leaders of the City of Whiteville, particularly chief Doug Ipock.”

A consent judgement means that both David and Sandy Ridge Apartments agreed to sign the order. In the order, Sandy Ridge ownership maintains that it has taken steps to resolve the problems, but it also is willing to enter into the judgment to set the issue to rest.

“I regard the consent judgment as a critical next step in the process, not necessarily the final act,” David said. “The Whiteville Police Department will be working closely with the management company of Sandy Ridge to keep out unwanted visitors and evict anyone who is breaking the law. We refuse to allow the good tenants of Sandy Ridge to be further victimized by crime and we will have a zero-tolerance approach moving forward.”

The order asks Sandy Ridge and anyone that owns the place in the future to meet a myriad of requirements that increase surveillance and law enforcement power on the property. The order requires the owner to:

  • Employ a manager with an on-site office for on average 10 hours a week who is also on call during non-business hours
  • Pay for the hiring of off-duty law enforcement to act as security for the property for 12 hours per week on average for the next six months. This will cost the owners a maximum of $360 per week unless the hours increase.
  • Sign an annual contract with the Whiteville Police Department allowing them to arrest people for trespassing on behalf of the property
  • Meet with representatives from the city police, fire department and building inspector to conduct a full walk-through of the property each year
  • Require residents to show a government-issued ID and keep ID records on file for law enforcement
  • Conduct criminal history checks on future tenants and residents as permittable by HUD rules
  • Maintain an updated list of tenants and banned tenants to be provided to law enforcement upon request
  • Install and maintain security cameras to surveil the entire property and keep recordings for the past 30 days
  • Maintain the lighting so the property is better lit more consistently
  • Issue parking permits and guest permits to residents and guests
  • Evict residents if criminal activity is happening in or on their unit as permittable by HUD rules

The order continues that if the owner don’t fix the alleged violation within 20 days, the DA would have the power to petition the court to be heard for an Order of Forfeiture of the Property. If there aren’t any material violations of the judgement by July 1, 2024, then the order will end on its own terms without any further action required by the owner.

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