‘We fear for our lives’: Tenants beg for more security in Cleveland apartment building

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Tenants at an apartment building are scared for their lives, saying their safety is in jeopardy. Despite having overnight security, criminals still run amok.

“We have to walk around here armed with our own guns and mace and knives on us because we fear for our lives,” said West Boulevard Place Tenant Matthew Fitts.

Tenants at West Boulevard Place on Detroit Avenue feel like they have no choice but to put their protection in their own hands.

Matthew Fitts says crime happens regularly in the building and nothing is done about it. The trouble starts in the parking lot.

“They vandalized this blue car here two or three times,” said Fitts.

On the inside, doors are unnecessarily propped open, inviting anyone to come in.

“Normally when I come down here there’s paper wedged in the door here,” said Fitts.

Worst of all: The violence.

Fitts says there’s drug trafficking and when things go south, it’s not uncommon for people to get hurt.

There’s still a smear of blood on a wall from a recent attack. So what can be done about all this? Fitts says it starts with better security.

“We need an armed guard or police officer at that desk 24-7, seven days a week,” said Fitts.

He says he’s asked the CEO of Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority for help multiple times, but has been ignored.

So, we stepped in.

I spoke with a spokesperson for CMHA who took down the tenants’ concerns and promised to reach out to those affected directly.

CMHA also sent us the statement below:

CMHA takes security concerns at its properties very seriously. In May of 2022, CMHA hired an additional security service to provide overnight security presence at the West Boulevard apartment building. While safety related service calls and allegations of criminal activity at this building have decreased. We are continuing to identify safety-related needs and to evaluate our options for increasing security guard presence at many of our properties including this property. Residents with information about criminal activity on CMHA property should report such information to the CMHA Police Department. Meanwhile, CMHA staff will continue reaching out to the residents of this property to learn more about their specific concerns, and how we might work together to address them.

It’s a step in the right direction for this group of people, fearful for their lives.

As always, the 19 Troubleshooters will stay on this until they get the protection they deserve.