WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - D.C.'s attorney general is suing the District's Housing Authority. AG Karl Racine claims the agency has failed to keep its properties and tenants safe.
According to Racine, this comes out of a year-long investigation, hundreds of complaints from tenants of 10 public housing properties across D.C., and over 5,000 police calls. The calls have ranged from homicides to shootings to drug and firearm issues. Racine claims the housing authority has not done enough to keep people safe.
"Five thousand police calls tell a story of people calling out for help and calling out for a greater sense of safety in the areas for which they live. We believe the properties at issue, could do with much better lighting -- a lot of crime occurs at night," said Racine.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the AG spells out his demands of the housing authority for better lighting, more fencing on some of the low-income housing complexes, more special security personnel present, and additional surveillance cameras that could assist police.
The properties are LeDroit Apartments and Kelly Miller in Northwest, Langston Terrace and Addition, Kenilworth Courts, Lincoln Heights apartments and Richardson Dwellings in Northeast; James Creek and Syphax Gardens in Southwest; and Benning Terrace, Stoddert Terrace Apartments, and properties formerly known as the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Apartments in Southeast.
One former D.C. Housing Authority police officer, who did not wish to be identified, tells FOX 5 that these measures are necessary. He says the housing authority is understaffed and doesn't have the manpower to address all the serious crime issues that these neglected neighborhoods face. He adds that more needs to be done than just lighting and cameras.
"The cameras are just gonna record the violence, they're not gonna stop it... these are dangerous areas-- they're dangerous for the officers, and they're dangerous for citizens especially for the children. So it's bad, and yes this needs to be brought to light, and something definitely needs to be done," said the former Housing Authority Officer.
The D.C. Housing Authority did issue a statement saying they are launching a thorough internal investigation into these alleged failures. According to the statement, the group says it is already making suggested changes as laid out in the suit.
Read their statement in full below: