WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Robyn Chase is sick of the crime in her Southeast DC area. One of the places she shops, the Alabama Plaza, has been so overwrought with danger and violence that one police officer called it a war zone in the daylight.
“You try to keep the crime down. It’s a high-crime area. It’s a lot to deal with,” Chase said.
Due to residential complaints, DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb on Friday announced a sweeping legal crackdown on landlords to force them to bolster security, improve living conditions and ensure safe housing.
As part of the settlement with the AG’s office, the owner of the plaza with a daycare grocery store and barbershop must now make security improvements that can curtail gun violence and drug activity.
“If we had people that could actually talk and come forward and starting making a change, some of the stuff might not happen,” Chase added.
There was action taken against the former owners of Buena Vista Apartments in the Northwest to fund critical repairs and address lead problems.
An illegal nightclub was shut down at 209 Florida Ave. northwest, and the owners of Worthington Woods apartments must make significant upgrades, according to the settlements.
Argie Weatherington is an assistant deputy attorney general in the public advocacy division. She said these actions are an important step for citizens and their community needs.
“Based on the feedback we receive from the community, these are issues that are important to the community,” she said.
Some lawsuits were filed and later settled while others agreed to the AG’s demands. The daycare at Alabama Plaza will have a fence installed, for example.
“And a part of doing this is also being responsive, not just to residents who live in the nearby community but people who also work in the area,” Weatherington said.
Chase said she hopes the police presence continues.
“It’d be a little more better if you had police coming out and checking on residents to make sure everything’s OK,” she said. “Their presence, it really means a lot. I guess people just don’t understand that.”