Windsor Police crackdown on public housing highrise
A crime-ridden social housing highrise has been under close surveillance by Windsor Police since last July - and officials say that's keeping the "undesirables" out.
Over three months ago, Mayor Eddie Francis held a news conference after two residents at 920 Ouellette Ave. complained to him about the building's safety.
"It's going to be zero tolerance in that building," said Francis on July 11.
Now, the Windsor Police said officers walk through Ouellette Manor at least three times per day, making it very uncomfortable for criminals to congregate.
"We will have success here. I can assure you from a police standpoint we're doing everything possible to ensure that the safety of the individuals living there is instilled," said Supt. Mike Langlois.
But not everyone is on the same page as police.
"It hasn't really changed that much at all," said Gary Laframbois, who has lived in the building for five years.
"You see the police around once and awhile, but not as often as they said they would be around here and they still got prostitutes and drugs going on," he said.
Cathy Nantais is the chair of the building's safety and security committee. She's optimistic things will get better and said she realizes these types of issues won't disappear overnight.
"It's going to take them a little while before they can really solve a lot of the big problems in the building, but along with the police and the things that CHC [Community Housing Corporation] has implemented, things are getting better," said Nantais.
Seven arrests since July
Police have arrested seven people at the building since July in relation to warrants and breach of conditions.
The number and severity of emergency calls to Ouellette Manor has dropped since police officers increased their presence.
Langlois said it all boils down to a few "bad apples," some of whom have already been evicted.
"Sometimes it's the minority that causes the majority of the problems," said Langlois. "The vast majority of the tenants in the building are law-abiding people. They just want to live in peace."
The Community Housing Corporation is improving security by changing all locks in the building and issuing more trespassing orders to unwanted visitors.
Officials are also looking at installing more cameras and magnetic locks.
"I don't see that we dropped the ball on it," said Jim Steele, Community Housing Corporation CEO. "I see it's just something we need to continually improve and get better and things will happen and we'll be there to do that."
The CHC has scheduled a meeting for Nov. 6 to talk with tenants about their concerns.
Nantais estimates nearly half the work is done in ridding the building of the trouble makers. In about a year she said she hopes to walk through the front door without seeing prostitutes and drug dealers.