Jerry Cox, a resident who lives on 100 S and 300 W, said the condemned West Cove apartments have been causing issues for several years, and he is now seeing his property value decline in an already troubling economy.
“[Transients] stay the night, kids have drug parties and when a call is made to the police, it usually takes a long time for a response, only to have the problem people already gone,” Cox said.
Captain James Van Fleet with the St. George Police Department said the police are not only aware of the problem, but have increased patrols in the area. The police department, along with the City of St. George, continuously board up the complex every time someone breaks in and takes the boards down, he said.
Van Fleet said one of the problems that arise when police arrive is that the storage units are still operating legally behind the apartment complex. When cars are coming and going police must first identify who is breaking and entering, and who is simply using their storage unit.
In 2008, the police department responded to six criminal mischief, nuisance or trespassing calls to that location. In 2009, that number increased and so far, in 2011, it has doubled.
Van Fleet said most of the calls recently have happened on the graveyard shift and involve juveniles smoking marijuana or doing drugs.
Marc Mortensen, support services manager for St. George, said the apartments were condemned over two years ago because of electrical concerns that endangered the safety of residents. He said the city would like to clean up the area, but is not getting a lot of help from the property owner, who also owns the still-operating storage units in the back.
Mortensen said the apartments do not reflect well on the city, but the city cannot tear down the complex because they do not own the property. Instead, they regularly send out code enforcement and the police department.
He said residents like Cox will have to continue to call the police each time they see suspicious activity.
In the meantime, residents are becoming increasingly frustrated as the problems have now crossed the street. A vehicle owned by Cox’s son was recently vandalized when someone rammed it with a cart full of rocks, damaging the driver’s side, and slashed two of the tires.
Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.