OKC Works To Bust Crime-Plagued Eyesore

Thursday, November 1st 2012, 10:12 pm
By: News 9

A metro apartment complex has been plagued by fire and crime for years. Now, the city is getting serious about turning the property around.

Police have been called to the abandoned Lantana apartment complex near NW 10th and Council in Oklahoma City thousands of times in the last several years. Neighbors say the most recent arson was just a couple days ago. In fact, firefighters are at the complex so much they have their own lock on the gate.

"I would be glad to have them gone," former resident Patty Prince said.

Prince now lives right behind the burnt buildings of the apartment ghost town.

"It's horrible," Prince said. "It's really an eyesore."

Eight years ago, Prince and her daughter moved out of the now-abandoned property, but they still deal with its problems.

"I see a lot of gunplay," Prince said.

In past five years, police have been called to the area nearly 5,000 times, according to records released by the department. That averages to about three times per day.

"I had seen a few drug dealers living there," neighbor Tyeresha Barnett said. "I don't want my son to see it."

Neighbors say it seems like fires are set at the complex on a weekly basis no matter how hard the owners try to keep people out. There is a fence surrounding the apartment complex, but News 9 found many ways people can still gain access.

"We want a thriving 10th Street," Oklahoma City spokesperson Kristy Yager said. "We want it to be safe."  

Oklahoma City officials say the current owners of the property are working to tear down burnt units and fix others, but there are setbacks.

"They get really close to getting their permits and then another fire occurs," Yager said.

Neighbors are hoping the next fire will finish the job for good.

"It would cut down on a whole lot of the rodents [and] the roaches," Prince said. "I have it real bad."

The city says it will check the property on Monday to make sure grass is mowed and a mess of abandoned furniture littering the area is cleaned up. The city says it will cost about a million dollars to tear down the buildings.