In the last two years, Smithfield Police have responded to 547 calls at the Johnson Court Apartment Complex on Kay Drive in South Smithfield. Since March 2015, there have been four seperate shooting incidents, resulting in two visitors being seriously injured.
Police Chief Michael Scott said crime has increased since March, causing the department to assign an officer to Johnson Court during the summer months. While the apartment complex has only 69 units, Police Captain R.K. Powell said it is responsible for the most calls to any apartment complex in the city limits.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Foundation For Affordable Housing, Inc. appeared before the Council requesting they endorse a $5.5 million multifamily revenue bond to allow the California based non-profit to purchase Johnson Court plus 8 other developments in North Carolina and 3 in Missouri. The total cost would be $75.5 million. There would be no taxpayers money involved and no cost to the Town. However, Town of Smithfield approval is required before the loan can be processed.
Town Councilman Perry Harris expressed his concern about crime in the neighborhood, saying the currently owners have not been taking the crime problem seriously. “The people that own this are not good citizens and have not dealt with this in a proper manner in my opinion,” citing the crime stats provided by Chief Scott.
“This is a trouble spot, a big trouble spot in my opinion,” Harris said.
Harris and the board agreed unanimously to table the request by the Foundation For Affordable Housing until October to allow the potential new buyer time to show how they plan to work with the police to address the crime problems.