Manitoba

Residents 'feel unsafe' living in Pembina Highway apartment block after rash of break-ins

It’s been a hot spot for thieves for the past couple of weeks and now residents in a Pembina Highway apartment block are fed up and want out.

Residents have signed a petition to end their leases after multiple break-ins inside the parking garage

It's been a hotspot for thieves for the past couple of weeks and now residents in a Pembina Highway apartment block are fed up and want out. 1:19

It's been a hot spot for thieves over the past couple of weeks and now residents of a Pembina Highway apartment block are fed up and want out.

"We feel so panicked now. They can easily break into this building and no one is taking care of this building," said Ashley Yang, a tenant at The Spot.

Yang has called the building home for the past year and is currently enrolled at the University of Manitoba as an international student. She pays extra for additional security, however she said her window was smashed two weeks ago in the middle of the day. 

Over the past month, Yang said at least 20 car windows inside the building's parking garage have been smashed, some of them more than once. 

"We feel unsafe. We want to stop our contracts and move out.There's no alarm on the front door and I think it's ridiculous," Yang said.

Ashley Yang said she is frustrated after her car window was smashed.
Yang said she has approached managers at Towers Realty Group, the company that looks after the building. Following the first rash of break-ins a month ago, Yang called the building's managers a number of times, but she says nothing has been done.

Yang and roughly a dozen tenants have asked management to get a security guard on site, or at the very least install an alarm system at the front entrance of the building. Yang said their requests were denied.

"I think they have to get security," Yang said. "They have to take responsibility."

'I feel pretty uncomfortable in here'

Minghao Deng is also a tenant at The Spot and he said that after his car was broken into the first time, he decided to pay $100 per month to park inside the garage for added protection. Since then, his SUV has been vandalized once more.  

"I've lost two pairs of sunglasses. It's about $300 in total. I feel pretty uncomfortable in here right now," Deng said.

Since the break-ins started Deng and his wife haven't felt safe sleeping at night. He said he is worried that if the thieves are able to get into the parking garage through the front entrance, they can also enter the building. 

"I lock my door every night. I even lock my bedroom door every night," Deng said. "I don't feel secure."​

Minghao Deng said is hoping to move out of The Spot because he is worried about his safety.
A number of residents have signed a petition in hopes that the management group will allow them to break their one-year leases so they can move elsewhere.

Bo An didn't hesitate before putting his name on the petition. His car window was smashed last week and his glove compartment was left scratched and broken. 

"It's terrible. My wife and I feel very sad and we can't do nothing," he said. 

An and his wife met with the building's management team this week to express their concerns but he added he doesn't think they are taking these issues seriously.

"If they don't give us a security guy, maybe we will move out," An said.

Not responsible for the actions of criminals, realty group says 

Towers Realty Group said they've been working with police and with tenants, however the Residential Tenancies Act "does not hold landlords responsible for the actions of criminals."

"We have taken all appropriate measures in response to both our tenants' complaints and the very unfortunate incident which occurred at our building," Jason van Rooy with Towers Realty Group said in an email.

"Towers Realty Group and the landlords are also victims in this incident and are experiencing significant loss as a result."

Rooy said improvements have been made following previous break-ins and police have also met with residents to talk about the risks of parking in an enclosed parking area.

"Residents were informed by police not to lock their vehicle doors in order to avoid window breakage and not to leave cash or valuables in their vehicles; it appears some residents chose not to listen to the advice of police," he said.

Rooy added that they are working with police by providing information and security camera footage in regards to the most recent break-in. 

It's been a hot spot for thieves over the past couple of weeks and now residents of a Pembina Highway apartment block are fed up and want out. 2:08